Plans for the redeveloped Granite block in Sugar House will ideally retain the character of the area, even if some of the buildings will not be preserved.
Many of the buildings fronting 2100 South and Highland Drive, which are owned by Craig Mecham Investments, will be removed because of stability concerns. They will be replaced by two seven-story buildings that hopefully have the same feel as the existing buildings, with brick and stone architecture on the first two levels.
Along McClelland Street, however, the current structures will be preserved by the block's other developer, Red Mountain Retail Group. Those buildings include the Granite Furniture store, which has been a concern for area residents and merchants.
"Our project is mostly preservation," said Eric Nelson, director of Red Mountain. "There are enough good buildings there that it doesn't make sense to tear any of it down."
The entire block will be remade into a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use district that will include approximately 200,000 square feet of residential space, 150,000 square feet of retail space and 100,000 square feet of office space.
Red Mountain will focus on urban lofts and small- to medium-sized retail outlets. Nelson said he hopes that the stores will include some locally owned businesses whether any of those will include stores that closed recently along Highland Drive remains to be seen so that people continue to have unique attractions to visit in Sugar House.
They are also wanting to preserve the buildings for environmental reasons, as demolishing buildings fills up landfills and requires more materials for construction, Nelson said. They invested in the area because they saw a chance to renovate that is not presented in a lot of places.
Russ Callister, with Mecham Investments, said that while they wanted to save buildings, both their architects and the city's building inspector told them that the structures along 2100 South and Highland Drive were not stable enough to save. Instead, they decided to try to design buildings that reflect the neighborhood.
Mecham "wants to duplicate and replicate the character that has existed in the Sugar House area for the last 100 years," Callister said.
Their development will include the office space of the redeveloped block, as well as ground-floor retail and some residential space. It will be contained within two seven-story towers, with underground parking.Both projects still need approval from the Salt Lake City Planning Commission, which is planning multiple public meetings. Demolition could start as early as this fall, with construction to last about two years.
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