Live, Work, Play – In SLC, Really?

We’ve all seen the giant hole in the ground on South Temple, slowly filling with steel girders, scaffolding, and a lot of noise. We’ve also heard the plans for Salt Lake’s new focal point—the “Live, Work, Play” development known as City Creek.

Plenty of questions remain on this enormous development. But among all of these lies perhaps the most obvious – and looming, if you’re on the development side – is whether or not “Live, work, play” can really live in a city like Salt Lake? Let’s talk about it…

First, the plan:

City Creek’s website boasts of building a community for living, work, and entertainment—right in what is probably the most prime real estate in Utah. In terms of residential planning, approximately 600 residential units are scripted for building. These units will primarily be located in a condominium tower on South Temple and 100 South. The Downtown Rising website also reports that some rental spots will be available above some of the retail spaces.

Many of the residential spots in the South Temple tower offer a view of LDS Temple Square—a view already available to anyone passing by the construction site. These spots are sure to garner high value from some of the LDS faithful, perhaps looking for prime viewing during busy General Conference weekends in April and October.

The Play side of City Creek offers high-end retail shopping, fine dining, and a well-advertised jumping-off point to some other metropolitan Salt Lake highlights. The retail side of City Creek will be anchored by two national department stores – Nordstrom and Macy’s) – situated on West Temple and Main Street respectively. A full service grocery store will also be located east of State Street, run by Harmons Grocery Stores—a great chain that is locally owned. The additional space offered exceeds 500,000 square feet for retail and dining locales. A small number of spots on all blocks of City Creek are currently open for business, but no word yet on any bigger name commitments.

The third component of the City Creek tri-fecta – work – is the tricky part of the equation. After sweeping plans to implode existing buildings and move others, renovation became the new favorite idea – probably to save costs – and it appears that many existing businesses will remain in place. Which makes the current tenant list as follows: KeyBank (in the new KeyBank Tower), Beneficial Financial Group, Zions Bank, a First Security branch of Wells Fargo Bank, and the offices of the Eccles Foundation. And according to the development website, an “extensive renovation” is in the works.

But are we really “metropolitan” like the flashy website says we can hope to be?

The biggest selling point from the developers of City Creek is the all-in-one, “metropolitan” aspect of the plan. But the question remains whether or not Salt Lake City, a very neighborhood (or even intersection) based city, has the right feel to accommodate a more urban, metro-based atmosphere. Do people in Salt Lake really need to live and work in the same place? Or live where they work to save their commute, as City Creek suggests? Tell us what you think. With completion of City Creek slated at 2012, there will be plenty of time to debate, and perhaps warm to what is a pretty new concept.

Photo courtesy of Todd McKinnley.

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