Commercial real estate industry insights.

Building Blitz Revitalizing Salt Lake City

by J. Philip Cook, MAI | Mar 31, 2022

Construction cranes and hard-hat work crews are a common sight in downtown Salt Lake City, where dozens of commercial and residential real estate projects are underway or in the planning stages.  

Salt Lake City has undergone dramatic growth over the years, making it one of the country’s hottest real estate markets. According to the National Association of Realtors, Salt Lake City ranked 8th among the top 10 commercial real estate markets in the country, outpacing Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., and Tucson, Ariz.

Salt Lake City also has scored high in terms of appeal. Salt Lake City recently ranked #3 in a Milken Institute Report of Best-Performing Cities in the U.S. The entire state of Utah fared well in the Milken Report. Provo-Orem, Utah was the top-ranked large urban area supported by high-tech industry, strong employment momentum and population growth. Logan, Utah was selected as the No. 1 small city due to its high-tech medical manufacturing, universities and aerospace companies. 

So what makes Salt Lake City an attractive place to work and live?

Numerous reports attribute its appeal to affordability compared to other Western hotspots like California and Colorado. Other reasons include Salt Lake City’s proximity to many outdoor activities, a reasonable cost of living, good schools, and a growing tech center (one survey ranked Salt Lake City 25th among the 50 largest tech markets for talent).

Salt Lake City is also becoming a place where young people want to put down stakes. According to one industry report, the population of those between the ages of 23 and 38 increased by 11.6 percent (more than 50,000 people) since 2014, making Salt Lake City the eighth-most concentrated millennial market.  

In the city’s downtown, new construction and renovations are quickly adding to the skyline. And if Dee Brewer, director of the city’s Downtown Alliance, has it her way, the city’s downtown urban core will one day be buzzing with activity day and night. “We want to create an 18-hour downtown,” Ms. Brewer proclaimed in an article about the revitalization of the city’s urban area.

Here’s a list of some of Salt Lake City’s noteworthy downtown real estate projects:

  • The Astra Tower – Billed as Utah’s soon-to-be tallest building, the 680,000 SF, 39-story tower will be constructed at the northwest corner of the city’s downtown. The tower, which broke ground earlier this year, will feature 377 luxury apartments with a multitude of amenities including a clubhouse with a chef kitchen, fitness center and an open-air rooftop terrace with a panoramic view of the Salt Lake valley and the Wasatch Front mountain range. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2024.
  • The West Quarter – Located on the city’s west side, this downtown building project is broken into two phases. The first phase calls for a high-rise building featuring luxury apartments and more than 11,000 SF of ground-floor level retail space and a hotel. The next phase includes three buildings – the tallest will be 28 stories – offering residential, hospitality, retail spaces, and underground parking.
  • Hyatt Regency Convention Center Hotel — The 25-story hotel on South West Temple will feature 700 guest rooms. The hotel is expected to be completed sometime this year.
  • The Sundial Tower — Named after the Sundial Peak on the Wasatch Mountains, this 23-story, 425,000 SF Class A office building will feature a two-story lobby and outdoor terraces on three floors. The building’s construction is scheduled to begin in 2024.
  • The Post House — This 488,000 SF mixed-use development will be built in the Post District, an area filled with aging and abandoned buildings located on the western edge of the city’s downtown. The project includes multi-story buildings offering apartments, retail, office, a plaza and other outdoor areas.
  • 255 South State Street – This two-tower mixed-use project includes 190 mixed-income apartments and 25,000 SF of commercial space, a food hall and event space. Construction is expected to be completed in 2023.
  • Salt Lake Temple – Currently in its third year of renovation, the nearly 100-year-old temple is undergoing a massive revitalization that is scheduled to be completed in 2025. The Church Office Building, which closed a year ago, also is being upgraded.