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Sugar House Journal

Sugar House neighborhood updates: Shopko and Fairmont Park

Jul 27, 2017 13h12 ● By Natalie Mollinet

With the pond levels changing, erosion has become an issue around the Fairmont pond. (Tyler Murdock/Project Manager)

Neighbors in Sugar House are becoming more anxious to see the changes in the old Shopko building site. One announcement back in June is helping neighbors get an idea of what they should expect, that being the first announced tenant in the block — a new University of Utah Health Care center. 

“University of Utah Health is the perfect partner for the Sugar House community,” Principal and Portfolio Manager for Westport Capital Partners, Greg Geiger said in a press release. “Early on in the planning process we sought feedback from the community on what they wanted to see in the area. One of the key themes we heard was that Sugar House really needs more daytime users for existing retail and dining establishments.” 

The U of U Health will be in one of the two new office buildings slated in the new project. The new building will occupy 170,000 square feet in the southeast corner of the new development. The U’s new building will work as a place that focuses on promoting heath in the community. The clinic will offer a wide range of health services, including primary and preventative care. 

“This property was a natural fit for us,” Wayne Imbrescia, executive director of ambulatory services at U of U Health said in a press release, “from the breathtaking views to the easy access on I-80 and proximity to the Sugar House business district, this location accommodates our patients by moving critical services from our hospital campus into the community where it’s more convenient.” 

Within the development on Shopko block, two new office towers and a multi-family residential building is set to be built, according to Westport. New streets will reconnect Highland Drive and 1300 East, and will include pedestrian and bike lane improvements along the new street. Westport Capital Partners are still going through the approval process with the city to finalize the designs. 

Fairmont Park

Fairmont Park has been getting a facelift over the past few years, with plans of new lighting, walkways and better access to the park. The Salt Lake City Parks and Public Lands is putting funds towards improving the Fairmont pond. 

“The pond and the adjacent land within the park have been declining since the last major upgrades occurred in the mid 1980s,” Tyler Murdock, the project coordinator for Parks and Public Lands said.  

The improvements would help with the flooding issues by creating walkways and landscapes that would be resilient to the water level changes. It would also refocus a path around the pond by connecting the northwest bridge to a decking area with benches on the east side of the pond. 

The main goals of the improvements would include a resolve in annual flooding in the natural spring, better pedestrian access to the north side of the pond and a resolve to continued erosion around the pond. The pond restorations began in July and with people visiting the Sugar House Farmer’s Market at the park, the new playground and the skate park,  the area is becoming more and more used. 

“Salt Lake City Parks and Public Lands was supportive of the Community Council’s application and have worked closely with them during the planning and design process,” Murdock said. “We are currently finalizing the construction documents for the project and hope to begin construction later this summer and into the fall of 2017.”

The Sugar House Community Council is looking to start a “Friends of Fairmont Park” group to help keep the park moving in the progressive direction. They are looking for people who are committed monthly to help clean the park. If interested, email the community council at [email protected]