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Demolition begins on Salt Lake City's crime-ridden Gateway Inn

Posted at 6:40 PM, Dec 06, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — The Gateway Inn Motel on North Temple in Salt Lake City has been an infamous crime-ridden hotel since its early days. In fact, project manager Kevin Orr says the demolition required hazardous clean-up to get rid of bed bugs in mattresses, drug paraphernalia, and splattered blood on walls.

Laione Broussard has lived in the Fairpark community nearly his whole life. He says this motel and another down the street have been hotbeds for crime since he was a kid.

"This hotel, specifically — a lot of prostitution, a lot of drug deals out in the open. They don't care," Broussard said.

Likewise, Fairpark Community Council Chairman Nigel Swaby says the issue of crime at this hotel is what inspired him to get into local politics.

"When I moved here seven years ago, I remember sitting on the Trax stop in front of this and being like, 'What is happening? Why isn't this being stopped?'" Swaby said.

Swaby says this demolition and redevelopment is years in the making.

"Much like the other redevelopment that has been taking place, this is going to be apartment buildings... and then we'll be having ground floor retail as well," he said.

These are just another string of new apartments going up along North Temple. Swaby says he is excited about what the new apartments across his community and the Gateway Inn demolition will mean for businesses and the economy.

"I think this will be the tipping point where businesses and retailers want to be in the Fairpark neighborhood on North Temple," he said.

Broussard is happy to no longer see crime, be harassed or yelled at while he passes the Gateway Inn on his daily walks to the store. However, he says the community could do without more expensive apartments that many living in the area cannot afford.

But Swaby says the new apartments should be market rate.

"The microunits that have been here are renting for $900 a month, which is market rate, but also affordable for single people," he said.

Broussard is not convinced that the demolition of the Gateway Inn and new apartments across North Temple will stop the crime seen in his neighborhood.

"There's been a decrease, but it's also they're taking down where the roaches hide, don't mean the roaches ain't going to find somewhere else to stay," Broussard said.

Swaby is confident in the Salt Lake City Police Department's investment in the Fairpark community and says the new substation will help keep crime low.

"They do move, but every time you take a large group of people who think it's OK to commit crimes in one area and put the hammer down on them, they break up into smaller groups," Swaby said.

Project manager Kevin Orr said they plan to break ground on the new development in the third quarter of next year.