tod news

Station Center poised to revitalize west edge of downtown Salt Lake City
Derek Kitchen | The Salt Lake Tribune


A rendering of the proposed plans for Burnham Place at Union Station in Washington. Credit Akridge and Shalom Baranes Associates

Salt Lake is a city on the rise. Over the next decade or so, we're going to see a huge increase in demand for downtown living.


It's happening already: Last week, the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City (RDA) announced big, bold plans for the property between the Rio Grande depot and the intermodal hub. This new area, "Station Center," is almost nine acres of vacant or under-utilized land that sits next to a high concentration of homeless-service providers. It is close to the freeway, the Utah Transit Authority hub and the Gateway shopping district. This is prime downtown real estate for transit-oriented development.


The RDA is taking a very deliberate and collaborative approach to revamping Station Center, working closely with potential developers to promote housing diversity for all income levels and allowing the market to direct the shape of each individual parcel. The city will also be making utility and infrastructure upgrades that will make the environment attractive and profitable for private investment.


Station Center is a clean slate, perfectly situated in an area heavily served by mass transit and our city's 3,000-plus daily commuters. The new Station Center would reinforce the benefits of our transit system, encourage top-notch urban design, and create a truly walkable and vibrant urban experience. We'll see new housing choices, offices, high quality public spaces, and maybe even a year-round, public farmers market — which will play a significant role in the success of this neighborhood.

Imagine thousands of new people living in this area in the next five years. These new residents will be walking, riding bikes or taking trains to work. They'll be grocery shopping at the farmers market and strolling their neighborhood in the evening. Station Center will be an urban neighborhood for the 21st Century, one that is focused on walkability, multi-modal transportation, and community.


This will all happen with, or without, the homeless services in the neighborhood. All urban centers have concerns with homelessness and loitering, and while Salt Lake's situation is a particularly difficult puzzle, Station Center is poised to help solve it. More people living in the area will dilute the homeless population, and more eyes on the street will increase safety.


The fact that the RDA is moving quickly on these parcels is a sign of good things to come. Our public investment will create a spillover effect in the surrounding areas that will lead to more development, more activity and, ultimately, more stakeholders in the neighborhood.


We are witnessing the beginning of a dramatic and long lasting positive impact on the west side of downtown. We have the land. We have the demand. The coming growth will bring renewed energy to an increasingly blighted area, and will provide taxpayer value by taking advantage of strong but under-used transportation infrastructure.


Station Center has the bones for greatness, now it just needs the investment and encouragement from the community.