University of Utah grows 'downtown presence' with $38M acquisition

The City Centre building in Salt Lake City is pictured on Wednesday. The property was purchased by the University of Utah.

The City Centre building in Salt Lake City is pictured on Wednesday. The property was purchased by the University of Utah. (Carter Williams, KSL.com)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's flagship university is set to firmly position itself downtown after a $38-million purchase.

The University of Utah's board of trustees on Tuesday signed off on the purchase of City Centre — a 238,000-square-foot building at the northeast corner of State Street and 400 South.

Along with the building, the acquisition also includes 1.85 acres of land, with surface and underground parking.

"This allows us to position the university to build a downtown presence," John Creer, chief real estate officer at the U., said in a statement. "These types of locations don't exist — there are very few available downtown. We have a monetizable, developable corner that we can use for university growth, or, if we want to be optimistic, we monetize it in a variety of ways."

Creer said the new location will help consolidate the university's downtown operations and serve as a "central home" for university offices currently spread as far as the Gateway, to 500 East.

As of now, around half of the building is occupied by business tenants, including Planet Fitness, cybersecurity company Venafi and Workday, a software company.

The University of Utah will continue to lease out space in the building, Creer said, all while campus master planners decide how the building can be harnessed for educational use. As some of the university's previous downtown leases expire over the next six years, staff offices could relocate to City Centre.

The space includes nearly 450 parking spaces and sits adjacent to the TRAX Red Line, which links to the U.'s campus.

Despite the price tag of $38 million, the board of trustees notes the "relative affordability" that comes with purchasing an existing space. While the U. spent $159 per square foot, construction of a new building would've been close to $400 per square foot, according to the university.

"This building was constructed really well and probably has 40 to 50 years of life left in it," trustee Steve Price said in a statement. "It's just a great building and a great location."

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Logan Stefanich is a reporter with KSL.com, covering southern Utah communities, education, business and tech news.

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