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Old Shopko to be new office space, possible medical facility

May 08, 2017 09:51AM ● Published by Kelly Cannon

Colby Durnin of Sentinel Development explains what the plans are for the Shopko site to the community council. (Kelly Cannon/City Journals)

By Kelly Cannon | kelly@mycityjournals.com

Working is moving forward on replacing the old Shopko building at 2290 S. 1300 East. Mark Isaac, the owners’ representative of Westport Capital Projects, presented the Sugar House Community Council with plans for the site during the council’s April 5 meeting.

“We’re gearing up to start working through the approval process with the (Salt Lake) City Council to begin the transformation and the redevelopment of the nine and a half acre site,” Isaac said.

Isaac brought in developers from Sentinel Development to help explain the goals for the project. Colby Durnin of Sentinel Development explained they’ve been working on the project in earnest late last year. They began reaching out to the community through surveys to help determine what would be the best fit for the new development. They received over 2,700 responses with several common themes.

“Reading through them, it was new streets with wide pedestrian sidewalks, enhanced connections and bike paths, connections between activity centers and blocks in Sugarhouse, ample daytime and evening parking with below ground structure, improved traffic circulation from interstate onramp, design of building be attractive on all four sides, lighting and landscaping preserve the look of the streetscape, landmark entry way and public art,” Durnin said.

Durnin explained when they first came, people were concerned the space would become another big box retail chain. However, Durnin said after they looked at the site, they realized it wasn’t what was best for the community.

“It’s not what made sense for this area,” Durnin said.

The site will be developed into a University of Utah medical center and office space. There will also be four levels of parking, mostly underground. However, Durnin admitted the medical office is not official.

“We’ve been in talks with the University of Utah,” Durnin said. “We do not have a signed lease yet but we’re very hopeful.”

During the presentation, resident Anne Asman began to ask questions, her first being about the demographics of the survey conducted by Sentinel Development.

“I have some questions about your survey as far as the demographics because the respondents are not indicated here,” Asman said. “I’d like to know their ages, what their incomes were, what their families are, are they employed? I’d love to have the complete information about who gave you that information.”

Asman also took issue with the plan for more office space.

“What we’ve talked about so far is what it looks like and how it’s going to manipulate.
What about the function of these buildings? We have office buildings,” Asman said. “If Dixon is going to be an office building instead of the university’s clinic, don’t we have enough office space? There are lease signs all the time out on 1300 East for the two office buildings we have there.”

Durnin explained the type of office space that will be built will be a “high class” office. He admitted there is a lot of vacancy for office space but the vacancy for high class office space is very low.

“Our investment team doesn’t think we’ll have a problem filling them at all,” Durnin said.

Asman said she was also concerned with the different demographics of the people living near the building, especially the aging population.

“We have a lot of different demographics and generations that will be utilizing this. My concern is that we’re not looking at the utilization and how it’s going to accommodate the needs of these people,” Asman said. “We’re looking at whether or not there’s a stop light or whether or not there’s a road here. We need to be looking more at the substance of what is going to be in these buildings.”

Isaac responded that he believes the site will fit in well with the demographics.

“I don’t understand your question when you say there’s going to be this huge senior living center going to be built in the community and right next door we’re going to be building a huge medical campus,” Isaac said. “It sounds perfect to me.”

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