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Keith McCord ReportingSome big changes are in store for downtown Salt Lake. Huge plans are on the drawing board for redeveloping Main Street and the Salt Palace. And, just get used to it, there's going to be a lot of construction going on for a number of years ahead.
Seems like the convention center is ALWAYS expanding. And that's a good thing because bigger groups can come here. Redevelopment projects like this have happened in cities all over the country and it takes a lot of planning to make them go smoothly.
When this addition is all done, the convention center will grow from 370,000 to 515,000 square feet!
Allyson Jackson, G.M. Salt Palace Convention Center: "It will be a wonderful glass facade so that you'll be able to see activity going on inside the facility, and then the meeting rooms will be off of South Temple."
The new addition is going on the west side of the current facility. Workers are beginning construction on a new underground parking structure; the entire project should be complete in August of 2006.
While that's going on, it's likely that work will begin on the LDS Church's downtown redevelopment project along Main Street. At last night's city council meeting, the Church announced a formal relationship with the Taubman Centers group-- a company which owns, develops, and operates shopping centers all over the country. Specific plans are still under wraps, but city leaders were told to expect the best.
William Taubman, Exec. V.P. Taubman Centers: "And I think we will end up with a wonderful project that we will be very proud of, and I believe this community can be very proud of. It will be the centerpiece of retail area of the overall downtown environment."
With these projects in the works, discussion at the meeting this morning was about transportation. Business people and city leaders are launching a year-long study examining all downtown transportation issues, to see how they fit into these new development projects.
D.J. Baxter, Senior Advisor, Salt Lake Mayor's Office: “Given all of the activity that we expect to see in the downtown area in the next five years or so, we think it's very important that we study carefully how transportation can best serve those land uses and also how the land uses can be integrated into the transportation system."
That transportation study will look at everything-- buses, TRAX, parking spaces, etc.
Back at the Salt Palace the plan is to build and complete an underground parking garage--then stop while the huge Outdoor Retailer Show takes place in August-- then build the exhibit space, and be ready for the NEXT outdoor show in August 2006.