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The City Journals

Developer discusses plans for old Shopko site

Apr 03, 2017 09:54AM ● By Kelly Cannon

Mark Isaac discusses what he plans on doing to the abandoned Shopko site. Demolition of the building will most likely happen in April. (Kelly Cannon/City Journals)

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

Residents can expect changes to the old Shopko location to happen soon. Developer Mark Isaac spoke with the Sugar House Community Council about what he plans to do to the abandoned store, located at 2290 S. 1300 East. The brief discussion took place during the council’s March meeting on March 1.

“We own the nine and a half acre “Shopko” block,” Isaac said. “I was turned over the keys. They have now vacated the premise.”

Isaac, who is the owners’ representative with Westport Capital Partners, said they submitted a demolition packet and demolition plan to Salt Lake City in March.

“Obviously, it will take them a long time to process that but the plan is to demolish the Shopko in April. Obviously, we have a lot of site planning to do, a lot of work with you folks for approvals and we’ll obviously go through those steps,” Isaac said. “I don’t want vacant buildings and difficulties that we’ve had in Sugar House on the Granite Furniture block.”

Isaac said he has had renderings and models made up of what he plans to do with the site but were unable to shown them due to some disagreements with adjacent neighbors who own the other half of the shopping center.

“Anyway, just so you know, we’re working really hard to show you a lot and I think April will be a very valuable meeting for us to present what we think our plan is,” Isaac said.

Isaac’s plan is to have two office buildings and a multi-family project. Isaac said he’d prefer it if there wasn’t multi-family in the site but it was the only way to get the 30 feet height in the office building since a similar trade is required by zoning regulations.

“We’re meeting zoning conditions,” Isaac said. “Everything we’re doing is within the confines of the central office zoning.”

Isaac acknowledge it’s difficult to work as a developer in the city where he lives but he’s trying to accommodate the council and the neighbors.

“We’re very cognoscente of how much you guys care about this place. I do too,” he said. “In April, I’m going to come in with streetscapes and art.”

The art in question will include a mural painted on the large wall on the back of the PayLess building that will be exposed once the Shopko building is torn down.

“We’re programming art and architecture to beautify that entire area,” Isaac said.

Sugar House Community Council Secretary Sally Barraclough asked Isaac if his plans fall within the zoning regulations for commercial areas or if he is going to ask the planning commission for any variances. Isaac said not only are they not going to ask for any variances, they going to go the opposite way.

“We’re going to provide things that we think the community will support and appreciate that aren’t required. I could put a street and two sidewalks and just open asphalt and everyone in this room knows it will become a raceway. It isn’t going to be pedestrian friendly. It isn’t going to be bike friendly. And the one thing we don’t have in that block of Sugar House is pedestrian connectivity,” Isaac said. “Our idea is if it’s a nice office environment, it has to be pedestrian safe. So, we’re looking at doing much more than is required.”

Some members of the audience were concerned Isaac had already submitted plans for demolition to Salt Lake City before discussing it with the community council. Isaac said his whole purpose of being there was to let them know he was submitting the plans.

“You’ll have ample time to see our plans before someone at the city lets me do anything. It takes a long time to get anything through that city,” he said. “So if I don’t submit things now, I’ll be building in the winter.”