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Sugar House Journal

Residents determine future of new Park Avenue gallery space

Jul 18, 2019 16h28 ● By Jenniffer Wardell

The entire development is designed to encourage pedestrian traffic. (Rendering courtesy of Dixon + Architects)

By Jenniffer Wardell | [email protected]

It’s an artistic gift to the community. 

The new Park Avenue project in Sugar House will include a dedicated gallery meant as a public space for the community. Consultants for the project developer, Westport Capital Partners, conducted an online survey of Sugar House residents asking for their input on the exact use of the space, including the times and days of the week it will be open. The results will determine how the space is utilized once it’s completed.

“We want it to be something this community embraces,” said Mark Isaac, who is serving as a consultant on the project. 

The gallery/community center is part of a 9-acre development that also includes the University of Utah Health Sugar House Center, an office building, street-level retail, and a multi-family residential building. The retail will be on a newly constructed pedestrian-friendly street that will reconnect Stringham Avenue between Highland Drive and 1300 East. 

The gallery/community space will also be located on the new street. It’s been part of the project’s plan for years, ever since developers realized the space wasn’t right for another store.  

“We didn’t have the depth for commercial retail,” Isaac said. “Also, do you put commercial retail between two entrances of a parking structure?”

The developer most commonly refers to the space as a gallery in its official materials, and is already planning flooring, lighting and walls that would work for that use. There will be two bathrooms, as well as a small utility kitchen. In addition, the space will also have wireless access that will reach onto the street. Outside, there will be two window boxes with approximately 5 feet of display space. 

For more specific uses of the space, the Park Avenue team released a survey asking residents for details about what would interest them most. Questions ranged from general uses of the space to days and times when residents would be most likely to visit the space. They also asked whether residents would be interested in volunteering at the space or helping to curate possible art exhibits. One question even asked what residents would like to name the space. 

“What we’re trying to do is provide something to engage pedestrians in the community,” Isaac said. “We wanted it to be something unique.”

Other questions asked what kind of activities residents might want to use the gallery as a community space for. Regular community concerts were one of the possibilities, but residents could possibly use the space for private events or a regular pop-up boutique. 

“We thought it would be cool to have a little event space people could rent out,” said Landon Clark, chair of the Sugar House Community Council. 

Even if that’s not the option the public chooses, however, he added that the council is excited by the presence of the space. 

“It’s awesome,” he said. “I think it’s going to be really nice.” 

The survey is now closed, and the results will be tallied and presented to the Sugar House Community Council in August. Once that happens, crews can begin shaping the space for its final use. 

“We’re trying to remain very use neutral until we see what the community would like to have happen,”  Isaac said. 

He added that the community won’t have to wait long to see the results. 

“We’re hoping (the space is) occupied this calendar year,” he said. “We’re making great strides on the build.”