Many Expect New Downtown To Have Positive Impact

Many Expect New Downtown To Have Positive Impact

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Shelley Osterloh ReportingThe downtown redevelopment and new construction project announced this week by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many folks talking about what impact it will have on the community.

Most people we've spoken with are surprised by the size and scope of the project and say while many may be inconvenienced by the construction process, the outcome will have enormous impact on Salt Lake City.

The project will cost hundreds of millions, take years to complete and change Salt Lake City in ways we cannot imagine. But those who try to look into Utah's future say the project's legacy will be bringing people back to downtown.

Robert Grow, Envision Utah: "With the high rise condo building, the student campuses being right on the TRAX line, and the potential to grow those campuses, I think we have and extraordinary opportunity to re-enliven the streets. Yes there will be construction but there will also be a lot more people and a lot more excitement."

While some worry years of construction will take its toll, Envision Utah's new chair says it will be worth the inconvenience.

Bruce Christensen, New Chair, Envision Utah: "There will be some pain associated with the construction and all of that development. But in the end, the benefits will far outweigh any of the temporary discomfort that we will experience."

Pamela Atkinson, a long time community leader and advocate for the poor, says she thinks the new development down South Temple will be a bridge between Communities.

Pamela Atkinson, Coalition for Utah's Future: "We need to look at what can be accomplished downtown with the Gateway, as part of downtown and how all of these shopping malls can work together and with the new college. I think we can gradually bring the east and west closer together than it’s ever been."

New construction has slowed since the Olympics so construction workers are enthusiastic about the possibilities and the message it sends to other developers.

Gary Evershed, Lowell Construction: "I think it will have a tendency to encourage other investors who were heretofore hesitant to begin their smaller scale developments. And so a lot of the small to medium size construction companies would benefit as well."

No specific plans or completion dates are public yet so while many are pleased by the news in general, they are anxious to hear more details.

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