Downtown Dust | Urban Living
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Downtown Dust



I can't keep up with all of the construction along the Wasatch Front. From roadwork on the Mountain West Corridor and the never-ending Lehi road mess to the airport, prison, inland port and all the high-rises going up—phew! But, for the millionth time, those tall buildings are apartments, office buildings and hotels, not condos for sale! As long as there's easy money from banks and tax breaks from the federal government, you'll keep seeing apartment complexes being built.

Salt Lake City's Redevelopment Agency just approved a $7 million loan to help construct a luxury hotel smack-dab against the Union Pacific depot at The Gateway. And Athens Hotel Development is dropping almost $80 million to add another five-star hotel downtown. Of the 13 five-star hotels in Utah, 10 are in Park City. The other two are the Grand America and Hotel Monaco. The odd one out (No. 13) is Amangiri at Canyon Point in Southern Utah.

The Salt Palace Convention Center will get a 28-story hotel on the corner of 200 South and West Temple. This behemoth will have more than 700 guest rooms, three-story video displays outside (think the electronic billboards in Las Vegas), ground-level shops, a rooftop garden, a 25,000-square-foot ballroom and possibly a small grocer. The light pollution from those screens will be horrific—but nobody seems to care about that when it's billed by designers as "giving a vibrancy at night to downtown." The cost estimate is $337 million. It's a project from two private developers with the support of Salt Lake County, and it should be finished by 2022—about the same time Temple Square will re-open. Oh, you didn't hear? Yes, Temple Square will be closed for about four years starting December 2019 for a huge remodel. The LDS Church intends to take down the walls around the Temple block.

And let's talk about food establishments. The owners of the hugely successful Sapa restaurant are in talks with SLC planners to develop a food alley with small retail stores on the northeast corner of 800 South and State Street. It's refreshing to see a woman—Mai Nguyen, head chef and owner of the Sapa Group—succeed and plan to invest more money into our local economy. The 100-year old tea houses she brought over from Vietnam to grace the patio of Sapa are insanely beautiful. Watch this area of town closely as we all pace back and forth to see what development will land on the old Sears block across the street.