Let's Go Downtown | Urban Living
Support the Free Press.
Facts matter. Truth matters. Journalism matters.
Salt Lake City Weekly has been Utah's source of independent news and in-depth journalism since 1984.
Donate today to ensure the legacy continues.

Let's Go Downtown



Since 2011, the Downtown Alliance has put together comprehensive looks at the city's economy by reviewing employment trends, retail, development, cultural impact and activities, hospitality, housing and more. If you live out in the 'burbs or, say, in Moab, this kind of info might not mean a hill of beans to you, but to many folks, this is crucial intel. Why?

Did you seen those electric scooters downtown? They can be rented by the minute like GreenBikes (once Bird and the city hash out some final details). There are no docking stations—just an app that tells you where one was left by the last rider. They are picked up at night, charged and placed downtown again. Bird temporarily pulled the scooters from operation while it works out rules for operating downtown. Why did the company choose Salt Lake City as a market for its scooter product? And how did they figure out where to place the scooters? Info from Downtown Alliance helps business of all sorts make good decisions.

The 2017-18 report estimates that 77,850 people work downtown, with 3,250 in retail jobs, 7,750 in restaurant jobs and 65,000 in office jobs. Geographically, downtown isn't very big so most people working downtown leave after work. The report found that the No. 1 reason people avoid visiting downtown is traffic. Oy vey. Have you driven in San Francisco or Portland? Our traffic pales in comparison to so many other cities! My clients relocating here say time and time again that one of the reasons they want to move here is because commuting to and from work is "nothing" compared to where they're from.

Downtown Alliance reports from the past few years show that downtown retail sales keep climbing ($865 million in 2018) and that 64 conventions brought in 243,000 visitors who spent $226 million. The Eccles Theater has enticed folks to visit downtown, too. The survey found that during the past six months, on average, people came eight times to dine, five times to shop, four times for entertainment and two times for religious activities. I hope that as more people visit downtown this year for reasons other than work that they ride Trax or FrontRunner more often. The report notes that 33,000 parking spaces are available, but there are so many reasons to stop driving that polluting car! (OK, so I'm on the UTA board).

To read these free reports, go to downtownslc.org.