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Business owners hopeful of new S-line bringing more revenue


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SALT LAKE CITY — Business owners in the area of what used to be called the "Sugar Hole" have a more positive outlook than they once did as several projects get closer to completion, including the new street car line.

That line is now slated to open on Dec. 8 and what was once the pit at the corner of 2100 South and Highland Drive is now closer to a "Sugar High Rise." Several new restaurants and other businesses have opened.

"We've got Flatbread [Neapolitan Pizzeria] over here. Now [The] Annex is here," observed found objects sculptor Lawrence Adkinson at the Local Colors of Utah Fine Art Gallery. "These galleries have brought up at least two-thirds of our foot traffic and so we've been encouraged by that and we've been having more sales that way."

Adkinson said when construction was at its worst last year, the gallery saw 75 percent less foot traffic.

"I've been really impressed with the way things keep getting better and better because of the development in the area," glass artist Wayne Jacobsen said.

The optimism has spilled north a block to the two-times-displaced Sugar House Coffee.

"We aren't moving again - this is where we're going to stay," said general manager Emily Potts. "The first location was definitely the one we would have rather have been in, but this is going good - business is thriving."

The coffee shop once held the prime location at the corner of 2100 South and Highland Drive, but was pushed out during the redevelopment. It first moved across the street, and then to its current location at 2011 South and 1100 East.

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"We've been here for almost three years and had to pay for that whole build out, so we're lucky that we are a local business that has survived thus far."

Potts said she hoped the rail project, which in the future will eventually extend along 1100 East to 1700 South, would result in more foot and bike traffic and fewer cars in the area.

"In the long run, I think it will be a good thing if it gets utilized," Potts said. "So, I feel optimistic that it will benefit us. It just may take time."

City leaders have viewed the overhaul of the area as something of a short-term pain, long-term gain.

Previously released estimates project the street car line will have 3,000 average daily riders next year. By 2030, 4,000 new households and 7,700 new permanent jobs are expected to have taken root.

Salt Lake City councilman Soren Simonsen said the city is already seeing some impact and benefit from the development and Parley's Trail.

The trail includes "The Draw," a tunnel now under construction under 1300 East.

"Thanks to great foresight and vision from a lot of community leaders and an ability to stick with that vision and see it through, we're starting to see a lot of great things come to fruition," Simonsen said.

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Andrew Adams

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