July 11, 2019

North Temple Business Update

|||| |||| ||||

By Nigel Swaby

North Temple has long been a focus of the River District Chamber and its predecessor the River District Business Alliance. Over the last year, we’ve started to see some success. A year ago, we advocated for the opening of a police substation in the former Arctic Circle property to decrease crime in the area. Along with Salt Lake City Councilmember Andrew Johnston’s request for a police bike patrol for the west side, we thought the combination would be powerful. It was. Calls for police service at the Gateway Inn were about 125 per month a year ago. Now, the typical number of calls is less than 20.

The police moved out a few months ago as the property owner is preparing it for lease to another business. Besides the decrease in calls to police, the number of people loitering in front of the Gateway Inn has also dropped. Part one crimes have also been significantly reduced. The Gateway Inn owners have added a security guard and a fence to better manage their property. North Temple looks better today than it did a year ago.

A few blocks east, a longtime art project under the I-15 overpass was completed to make the corridor more visually appealing. Funded by Salt Lake City’s Art Council and Housing and Neighborhood Development, the project was coordinated by the Redevelopment Agency. Using bright colored sculptures and custom concrete, the installation clearly denotes the North Temple district. Adhesive wraps conceal unsightly utility boxes.

Half a block away from North Temple on 600 West, a new Boys and Girls Club is quickly rising. Their current location is up for sale. Completion of the new site is slated for later this year. On the southeast corner of North Temple and 900 West, the Bridgestone tire store abruptly closed due to a lease dispute. The property owner posted all of their Wasatch Front real estate for sale with an open bid process that closed May 26. It is yet unclear who or what will move into that corner.

We do know that a restaurant and distillery, Congregation Spirits Distillery and Standard Candle Bar & Grill, will be opening near 23 North 900 West near the old Utah Quality Service building. The business has assembled three properties for the project. The management group currently operates Water Witch in the Central 9th district. One of the owners lives in Fairpark.

A feasibility study for the development of a Public Market at or near the Fairpark is also underway. There seems to be growing support in the city council to favor this project over a similar one proposed by the Downtown Alliance.

Finally, the mayor’s newly approved budget provides additional funding for the development of the Folsom Trail corridor. This has been another longtime project for the city we as a Chamber believe could spur further investment in the westside and create the amenities residents have been clamoring for.

North Temple is truly the gateway to Salt Lake City. It’s heartening to see the business community and civic leadership taking the necessary steps to restore this grand boulevard. As residents, property owners and business owners, we can not rest until the change we seek is fully implemented.

ITALICS: Nigel Swaby is a Fairpark resident and Chair of the River District Chamber.