Filling the gap New construction adding sparkling gems between Gallivan Center & City Creek Center
Gallivan Center was completed in 1993 and City Creek Center opened in 2012. For the past few years, construction in downtown Salt Lake City has focused on an area between the two.
Pending gems include a glass-clad, 24-floor office tower; a performing arts theater; a retail and gathering corridor; and a hotel/condo building.
Ground was broken in 2014 for one of the first components, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater at 131 Main St., featuring a 2,500-seat main theater that is expected to host its first Broadway show in November. Immediately to the north, and connected to the theater, is the 111 Main office tower, where construction has reached the 23rd floor.
Behind the theater is Regent Street, which will be transformed into a retail and café district between City Creek Center and a 190-room hotel at Regent Street and 200 South that also will have up to 50 condos.
Steve Swisher, principal at GTS Development LLC, the theater project developer under contract to the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City, told a recent gathering of NAIOP Utah that in 2009, City Creek Center was being developed and the 222 Main building was underway.
“And, as many of you are probably aware, the northeast end of Main Street was kind of a dead spot,” he said, adding that Regent Street at the time was a “dead” street. “I think someone once referred it to as the missing tooth of the smile downtown.”
All of that is expected to change when the various projects are completed.
“We expect this project (111 Main) will bring 10,000 people a day downtown, between us and the theater, and we haven’t figured out how many the Regent Street retail will add to that mix,” he said.
Construction of the office tower and theater to its south presented a unique design challenge because the theater needed about 40 feet of space four stories high that would otherwise be part of the office building.
Enter the “hat truss,” a 32-foot-tall framework atop the tower that allowed the building to be suspended from the top rather than built up from the bottom. The 1,900-ton, steel hat truss holds up 1,900 tons of steel in the building, allowing part of the theater to be tucked in at the bottom.
“We built our theater, basically, instead of from the ground up, we built it from the north to the south because this tower cantilevers 40 feet over the top of our theater,” Swisher said. “We had to get the north side built first so our crane could get out of the way for the tower to take over.”
Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli and HKS and being built by Layton Construction, the 186,000-square-foot theater building will feature the three-balcony main theater for touring Broadway shows, concerts and other entertainment events.
“One of the architects’ ideas was that this hall should feel like a Utah canyon, so we have the curves of the balconies, combined with the coloration of the canyon walls, and then the real feature is going to be the LED star ceiling,” Swisher said.
The building also will have a 200-seat “black box” theater for smaller performances and community events. The grand lobby will have a winter garden look and feature glass walls and a full-service bistro.
The new theater is expected to have a $9 million annual economic impact. It will be operated by Salt Lake County’s Center for the Arts (CFA), the nonprofit operator of several venues in downtown, including Capitol Theatre, Abravanel Hall and Jeanne Wagner Theatre.
Swisher said it will have a grand opening concert in October and its first Broadway show in November. The $126 million project, funded in part by $36 million in private funds, will be 75 percent owned by Salt Lake City and 25 percent by Salt Lake County.
The theater lobby will be connected to the 10,000-square foot lobby of 111 Main, which will have 2,000 square feet of retail space and a slot canyon water feature. The suspended nature of the building will allow for floor-to-ceiling glass throughout the building, including 35-foot-tall glass in the lobby.
“You’ll be able to see in, [with] the visual things you’ll be able to accomplish,” said Bruce Lyman, director of leasing for City Creek Reserve Inc., the real estate arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the developer of 111 Main. “This is a lobby that people are just going to be in awe over.”
One awe-inspiring component will be a 32-by-42-foot 3D high-definition video wall that will display scenes of Utah’s natural beauty or snippets of performances tying in to the adjacent theater. It will be visible from the sky bridge at City Creek Center, Lyman said.
“We think people will actually be drawn down to it and, we hope, on in to Regent Street. That’s what our plan is,” he said.
Making the floor-to-ceiling glass throughout the building possible, engineering-wise, is the hat truss, which also will have its own aesthetic appeal by being illuminated by 123 LED lights.
Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and being built by Okland Construction, 111 Main also will have pragmatic elements. The building is being built to withstand a 2,500-year earthquake event and will incorporate sustainable lighting, materials and energy and water use components that will allow it to operate 15 percent below Utah’s energy code.
111 Main will have 440,000 leasable square feet. Goldman Sachs is the anchor tenant. Lyman said the building is 72 percent leased and the figure could reach 80 percent in the next six to eight weeks.
On the back side of the theater is Regent Street, undergoing its own transformation as a place to “gather, discover and connect” but with an “intimate and welcoming scale.” The project carries the brand “On Regent.”
A series of shops and restaurants will line each side of Regent Street, replacing what once was the site of printing presses used by The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News on the west side and the lower levels of the Regent Street Garage on the east side. The 10-level garage is being renovated. Already, old pre-cast concrete has been stripped off and its final look will be “airy and open,” Lyman said.
The designs of GSBS Architects call for landscaped, pedestrian-friendly walkways and outdoor dining at some of the restaurants. Printed materials indicate that the site will be attractive to up to 4,000 workers expected to be at 111 Main and 60,000 other downtown office workers within walking distance.
Regent Street also will have a street-level plaza, expected to be popular when the street is closed off for special events and after shows at the theater. The project will incorporate improvements to Orpheum Avenue, which connects Regent Street and State Street, and a mid-block pedestrian walkway connecting Regent Street with Main Street.
Construction on Regent Street’s shops and restaurants could start in the next 60-90 days and they could be ready sometime in the first half of 2017 likely, even if construction isn’t fully completed.
“There’s a lot of retail interest,” Lyman said. “We are trying to attract as much local as we can. We could sign three or four nationals right now on the street, and we’re kind of holding back. We don’t want another cookie-cutter down there. We want some really unique opportunities down there.”
Lyman acknowledged that while a 7,000- square-foot restaurant at the north end of Regent Street likely will be a national company, “it’s a very unique national. It’s not a cookie-cutter national.”
At the other end of Regent Street will be a boutique hotel and condo building. Keith Smith of Form Development said it will be the first new hotel in the downtown core in 15 years.
“We just saw that as being an opportunity, so we jumped on it,” he said.
The building will have 190 hotel rooms and 48-50 condos, with valet services, concessions and room service available to all occupants. The project is currently in the conceptual stage, and Smith said the company hopes to have construction begin in early spring of next year.
“We have a lot to accomplish, a lot to do in the meantime,” he said, “but we’re very excited about the opportunity.”
“We’re hoping that the both of us work simultaneously to reinvigorate the street itself,” Lyman said. “It’s going to be a very exciting street. Salt Lake needs an On Regent. They need a location where people can go have that fun chat, meal, show, shop and those kinds of things.”
Details about the projects are available at ecclestheater.com, mainandfirstslc.com, gtsdevelop.com, www.slcrda.com and 111mainslc.com.