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Leaders praise growth of downtown Salt Lake City

Posted at 5:39 PM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 19:50:22-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is one of the fastest growing states in the country. The annual State of Downtown event was held Thursday morning, touting the growth that has been seen in Salt Lake City.

"Downtown Salt Lake City is in ascension," said Dee Brewer, Executive Director of the Downtown Alliance.

The surge in the downtown area isn't hard to see.

"There are 11 more buildings under construction downtown, we're going to see the tallest building in Salt Lake come out of the ground shortly, that will be 40 stories of residential apartments," said Brewer.

Brewer said plenty of the growth will be seen in the number of people choosing to call downtown home.

"We have a relatively small residential population downtown, less than 5,000 people, in the next two years, that will double," said Brewer.

Right now, according to the Economic Benchmark Report by the Downtown Alliance, more than 70,000 people are working in downtown Salt Lake City.

That report points at that unemployment in the state of Utah was just two percent at the end of last year. With a low supply of workers, that state's hospitality industry is dealing with a high demand for workers, after seeing jobs in the industry grow by 17,770 in 2021.

Those numbers are reflected in downtown Salt Lake City as the 700-room Hyatt Regency Convention Center Hotel gets ready to open this fall.

"We also have the strongest economy in the nation here in the state of Utah, so we have all the tools that we need to grow in the right way," said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall.

It's something Mayor Mendenhall believes will help downtown continue to evolve over time.

"As people come into the city over the next two to three years, they're going to see a different skyline than they saw at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games or even just five to 10 years ago," said Mayor Mendenhall.

The Downtown Alliance laid out initiatives they plan to attack in 2023.

That includes a Main Street promenade that would expand sidewalk dining, music and street performers each summer weekend.

In 2021, according to the benchmark report, Open Streets attracted more than 400,000 visitors over summer weekends.

Brewer says with the success of the farmers market, which he says attracts 10,000 people every Saturday, they are looking to create Downtown Public Market. Brewer tells FOX 13 News his hope is it would be similar to Pike's Place in Seattle or Ferry Station in San Francisco.

"We think that will add to the vitality and the livability of downtown," said Brewer.

The Downtown Alliance also wants to elevate art and entertainment at performance venues and on the street. The Downtown Alliance promotes more than 80 events that take place each month.

They also plan to deploy their Street Ambassadors every day. They act as a resource to merchants, property owners and others.