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Sugar House Journal

Preliminary idea for Shopko replacement: office buildings

Feb 27, 2017 16h32 ● By Travis Barton

Preliminary ideas on replacing the closed Shopko building includes opening a roadway to Stringham Avenue and potential office buildings. (Natalie Mollinet/City Journals)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]
Mark Isaac, representing the owners for Westport Capital Partners—owners of the closed Shopko—was on hand at the Sugar House Community Council meeting on Feb. 1 to update residents on the progress of the Shopko building’s future.
Surveys asking questions on the Shopko site received more than 2,500 responses from residents, according to Lindsay Ferrari of Wilkinson Ferrari communications firm.
“We’re pretty proud of the response we got out of Sugar House residents, it makes me realize that this is a beautiful place,” Isaac said, a Sugar House resident himself.
Isaac, who commissioned a traffic study to be done on the area around Shopko, said he feels the overall traffic flow in Sugar House can be improved with road connecting Stringham Avenue through the central business district to the freeway entrance on 1300 East.
“I can actually develop all kinds of things with traffic counts and volumes and improve the overall traffic in Sugar House by opening that road,” Isaac said.
Isaac stressed this is just a programming idea that can connect large portions of Sugar House together creating an east to west flow.
To stop what he felt could be speeding cars through the business district to get to and from the freeway, he spoke of putting up some “side friction” with landscaping and parking.
Tina Escobar-Taft, Highland Park Trustee on the Sugar House Community Council, voiced her concern that speeding cars wouldn’t be slowed.
“I live off of a street…that has [side friction] and people still go really fast on it, to me I see that opening up and being more dangerous,” Escobar-Taft said.
While Isaac said there are lots of retailers interested in the spot, he spoke of a desire to bring in a different use such as multi-family housing and office buildings.
Escobar-Taft said another multi-family housing building would not go over well with the community.
“The community, what I’ve heard, what we’ve all heard, is that we don’t want any more housing,” she said.
Isaac said they feel office use would be great for day users to utilize the surrounding restaurants and retailers.
“I’m not sure if it’s the highest or best use or the thing everyone would like to see have happen, that’s why we’re trying to get feedback and share with you our thought process,” Isaac said.
No plans are concrete with Isaac reiterating that this is their programming idea to accommodate the responses they saw in the surveys.
Other items of note during the meeting:
·      Salt Lake City Public Library hired architectural firms to conduct studies on how three of the city’s libraries can better utilize space. Sprague is one of the libraries to be studied.
Librarian Cherie Koford said the proposal may or may not include an addition to the building. She also dispelled a floating rumor that the library would be torn down.
·      Fire Station No. 3, set to be built next to Forest Dale golf course along 900 East near 2400 South, is expected to see its groundbreaking in April.
Members of the fire department also recounted how a colleague died a week after his wife gave birth to their first child. A GoFundMe page was created for the family in January and by Feb. 2 it had already raised more than $18,000.