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View Poll Results: When will Salt Lake City ever get it's own signature tower?
By 2020 19 15.20%
By 2030 37 29.60%
By 2040 11 8.80%
By 2050 or later 6 4.80%
Never 52 41.60%
Voters: 125. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2013, 10:27 PM
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Poll: Will Salt Lake City ever get a signature tower?

Been going around and looking up alot of cities as of late and noticing alot of them have their own signature towers. And then I got thinking.......Do we here in Salt Lake have a signature tower? Not really. Our two tallest buildings stand about a foot or two apart from each other at 420FT and 422FT. Right now our skyline really is somewhat flat. Meaning alot of our buildings about as high as the one next to it. Alot of our towers are of a boxy shape and none are really that unique. The Wells Fargo Tower, built in 1998 stands as our tallest for over 15 years now at about the closest thing we have as a unique tower that stands out somewhat. At least for me looking at the night skyline the Wells Fargo Building with it's blue neon lights sticks out over the rest. But Salt Lake doesn't really have a tower that stands out from the rest and screams, hey look at me, I'm a signature tower.
So Today I'm asking the question, Will Salt Lake City ever truly get a signature tower? A tower that stands out and by looking at it you truly know your in Salt Lake. A tower that stands as a champion over the other towers that we have, something that would tower even over the LDS Church office building and Wells Fargo Tower. Will our time come?

I like to use the new "Devon Tower" in OK city as a example.

Standing at 54-stories and over 900FT the Devon clearly is OK city's signature Tower.
This is something I would like to see Salt Lake City get as a signature tower.
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1. "Wells Fargo Building" 24-stories 422 FT 1998
2. "LDS Church Office Building" 28-stories 420 FT 1973
3. "111 South Main" 24-stories 387 FT 2016
4. "99 West" 30-stories 375 FT 2011
5. "Key Bank Tower" 27-stories 351 FT 1976
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2013, 10:32 PM
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I voted for 2020, but that's more just wishful thinking on my behalf. I always have hopes for a big business company wanting to move their HQ to Salt Lake and building their own tower as our signature tower.
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1. "Wells Fargo Building" 24-stories 422 FT 1998
2. "LDS Church Office Building" 28-stories 420 FT 1973
3. "111 South Main" 24-stories 387 FT 2016
4. "99 West" 30-stories 375 FT 2011
5. "Key Bank Tower" 27-stories 351 FT 1976
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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2013, 10:54 PM
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I also put 2020. I really think we will get something of a signature tower, at least announced by 2020. I honestly believe the convention hotel could easily be the signature tower, or at least something tall with a unique non boxy design. I think there are two other potential keys in getting a signature tower in SLC. 1) As the financial industry continues to grow in SLC, a new comer to the market, may want to announce its regional headquarters with a new tallest, trying to one up Goldman Sacs, or another financial industry company could come to market, move into a new or existing space and Goldman may choose to one up them by building going bigger. 2) I think one thing that could be a key factor in finally getting a company to move their HQ here will be if/when SLC is announced as the 2026 host city for the Winter Olympics.

I love the "Devon Tower" in OKC. As for a more classic tower I fell in love with Key Tower while I lived in Cleveland. Cleveland has a few signature type towers, but Key Tower is the tallest by far.

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  #4  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2013, 11:01 PM
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I voted 2020, but I would have voted 2015 if it would have been available. That's only because I'm hoping that either the UPAC or the Convention Center Hotel will be a signature tower.
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  #5  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2013, 3:47 PM
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I voted never not as a reflection on SLC, but just because I think the era of signature towers in the U.S. is over. There will still be some, but it'll always be a one-off, a fluke, so I wouldn't count on any specific city getting them.
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2013, 4:44 PM
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I voted "by 2030", but I wouldn't be surprised if it was sooner. SLC and OKC seem to be very similarly sized cities, so I don't think something like the Devon Tower is completely outside the realm of possibility.
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  #7  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2013, 9:19 PM
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What is up with all the "Never" votes? Are the Denver forumers coming on here to vote? Boy I hope you guys are wrong with that, otherwise never would be lame for Salt Lake if that's the case and doesn't really give us much to look forward to in terms of new skyscrapers.

As for having either the UPAC or CC Hotel as a signature tower, I never really thought of that. I don't really see the UPAC being a signature tower since it's only going to be around 21-stories plus from what I've see it looks to be yet another boxy tower for Salt Lake. The Hotel on the other hand could be since it could be alot taller then the UPAC. But from what I've seen in other cities their CC hotels, a lot of them are of the boxy kind of shape as well.

I agree with Future Mayor that I think it's going to take having some kind of a company willing to move their regional headquarters to downtown. Goldman Sacs could be one of them since I see them out growing the 7-floors they take up right now at 222 South Main. Maybe Zions Bank if they ever want to move out of the old Gateway East tower to build their own. Maybe the Church could build a taller COB II. Or even WTCU could one day built their own skyscraper. Who knows.

The way I see it if a city like OKC could have one, then why not us. OKC isn't much bigger then Salt Lake in terms of people living in the metro.
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1. "Wells Fargo Building" 24-stories 422 FT 1998
2. "LDS Church Office Building" 28-stories 420 FT 1973
3. "111 South Main" 24-stories 387 FT 2016
4. "99 West" 30-stories 375 FT 2011
5. "Key Bank Tower" 27-stories 351 FT 1976
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  #8  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2013, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLC Projects View Post
What is up with all the "Never" votes? Are the Denver forumers coming on here to vote? Boy I hope you guys are wrong with that, otherwise never would be lame for Salt Lake if that's the case and doesn't really give us much to look forward to in terms of new skyscrapers.
To be fair, I voted for 2050.

Quote:
I agree with Future Mayor that I think it's going to take having some kind of a company willing to move their regional headquarters to downtown. Goldman Sacs could be one of them since I see them out growing the 7-floors they take up right now at 222 South Main. Maybe Zions Bank if they ever want to move out of the old Gateway East tower to build their own. Maybe the Church could build a taller COB II. Or even WTCU could one day built their own skyscraper. Who knows.
A regional company isn't going to cut it for a signature tower (by signature I assume you mean something in the high-30 to low-40 story range). You would have to have a large corporation with a big corporate HQ to pull of such a thing. Corporate HQ's are where the ego's are located that can pull off signature towers. A regional HQ doesn't have that. The executive ego is pretty important. Oil companies tend to have big egos and like to show off. Other industries, such as mining, are far more modest in their displays of wealth and tend to gravitate away from things such as signature towers. So, you've got to have the right kind of company and the right kind of ego to pull it off.

Quote:
The way I see it if a city like OKC could have one, then why not us. OKC isn't much bigger then Salt Lake in terms of people living in the metro.
OKC also has Devon and Chesapeake Energy. Each of those companies probably has at least 1,000 workers and executives with big swinging dicks (the executives are the most important part) located in OKC. What kind of company has that footprint in SLC? Zions Bank? Huntsman?
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Last edited by wong21fr; Apr 3, 2013 at 10:34 PM.
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  #9  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2013, 10:33 PM
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But also remember.. If you get a company to relocate (like a fortune 500 company), you may not get a 'signature tower'.. Those seem like a thing of the past..

Example? DaVita built their 'world headquarters' here in Denver and relocated. 14-stories. Nothing 'signature'.

I voted 2040 because that gives you a little less than 30 years to get something that exceeds the height of anything you have. Then again we haven't gotten anything above our good 'ol 714 ft since 1984. So you never know..


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  #10  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2013, 11:15 PM
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I think some people are being liberal with the definition of a signature tower. I don't believe a 520 story tower (100-feet taller than the two tallest) would be considered much a signature tower considering it wouldn't dominate the skyline like you'd expect from one.

What makes Oklahoma City's signature tower a signature is not just its look - but how it truly does tower over the skyline.



Anyone who voted for 2020 - which is in seven years - is probably fooling themselves. I'd anticipate a signature tower in Salt Lake to be at least 620 feet and I see no potential proposal down the pike that would come anywhere near that (UPAC and the convention hotel just won't be large enough to reach that height and it's not even certain either would even be taller than the Wells Fargo Center or the COB).

So, I voted 2040, which gives us nearly 30 years to establish a new tallest and a signature tower. But it ain't comin' by 2020 ... and I'd almost bet my life on that.
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  #11  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2013, 11:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wong21fr View Post
To be fair, I voted for 2050.

A regional company isn't going to cut it for a signature tower (by signature I assume you mean something in the high-30 to low-40 story range). You would have to have a large corporation with a big corporate HQ to pull of such a thing. Corporate HQ's are where the ego's are located that can pull off signature towers. A regional HQ doesn't have that. The executive ego is pretty important. Oil companies tend to have big egos and like to show off. Other industries, such as mining, are far more modest in their displays of wealth and tend to gravitate away from things such as signature towers. So, you've got to have the right kind of company and the right kind of ego to pull it off.

OKC also has Devon and Chesapeake Energy. Each of those companies probably has at least 1,000 workers and executives with big swinging dicks (the executives are the most important part) located in OKC. What kind of company has that footprint in SLC? Zions Bank? Huntsman?
In Salt Lake's case yes I think a tower around say 33+ floors could work as our signature. A regional HQ could pull it off since most companies when building their own buildings tend to tease out a lot of their floors to other companies. Meaning there's more then just that one company occupying the building.
Salt Lake came close of getting what I thought could of been a signature tower back in the early 2000's with the "Zion Social hall center" ( Can't find a old rendering anymore of this )
http://www.emporis.com/building/zion...akecity-ut-usa
How I'm not sure what company/ies this tower would of been home to, but it looked to be a mix-use tower that would of had both commercial office residential space. This tower also would of been Salt Lake's new tallest standing at 469 FT beating Wells Fargo that stands at 422FT.
Point is I believe that if any of our local companies wish to develop their own tower, beating 422FT shouldn't be that hard for them. Even if they don't need all the office space, then lease out half the building.
Or have it as a mix-use. Back in the late 90's into the early 2000's 222 South Main at one point was planned to stand at 29-stories making it our new tallest. The top five floors or so would of been Condos. But instead we had to settle for a 21-story all office space building.
__________________
1. "Wells Fargo Building" 24-stories 422 FT 1998
2. "LDS Church Office Building" 28-stories 420 FT 1973
3. "111 South Main" 24-stories 387 FT 2016
4. "99 West" 30-stories 375 FT 2011
5. "Key Bank Tower" 27-stories 351 FT 1976
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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2013, 3:00 AM
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Zions Bank could do it, if they aren't bought out by another large bank first. Maybe Questar Energy? Energy companies love skyscrapers, just look at the skylines of Denver, Dallas and Houston, and the smaller cities OKC and Tulsa and even Midland, TX.
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  #13  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2013, 3:20 AM
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If you are saying a 33+ story tower would be signature, then I would say by 2030 for sure, if not way earlier. That isn't THAT much bigger than what SLC has now.
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  #14  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2013, 4:17 AM
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I posted this in the past, but this is what I would consider a signature tower:



I don't expect anything like that for quite a while.
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  #15  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2013, 9:08 AM
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Disappointing that the "never" votes is now in the lead. Sure maybe 2020 is a bit of a pipe dream, but never, really? Always nice to see the big city boys hijacking the polls once again telling us what Salt Lake CAN'T do. It's that same kind of "can't do" big city talk who told us years ago that Salt Lake wasn't big enough to have a NBA team, or not big enough to host the 2002 winter games, or that nobody here would ride our light rail, ect, ect, ect. Now we'll hearing that a building taller then 500 FT for Salt Lake will Never happen? Please. Big city forks, get over yourselves.
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1. "Wells Fargo Building" 24-stories 422 FT 1998
2. "LDS Church Office Building" 28-stories 420 FT 1973
3. "111 South Main" 24-stories 387 FT 2016
4. "99 West" 30-stories 375 FT 2011
5. "Key Bank Tower" 27-stories 351 FT 1976
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  #16  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2013, 11:19 AM
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My longtime forum buddy Lee, Maybe if you had phrased the question a lot differently you wouldn't have attracted a certain number of trolls. I don't think Denver should be blamed either. Probably, there are other cities on the forum who lobbed more of those 'never' votes than Denver, but whatever. If the new Convention Hotel is at a visual height that is even a little bit taller than the COB, and also somewhat stylized like the L.A. Convention Hotel, then it would become a signature tower IMO. This, at least for the time being, until another taller tower is constructed. As beautiful as I think the Devon Tower is, I think it looks ridiculous when taking in the skyline as a whole around it. I would never wish that for Salt Lake, unless there were some neighbors being constructed along with it to balance out the odd comparative height. I would rather Salt Lake make a gradual increase, and build up to that type of height.

Besides, with as much positive growth, change and development as is happening in the Wasatch Metro, why would any reasonably balanced person focus only on which of their immediate needs are not being satiated. Sometimes, I think this forum is the perfect lab, idicative of this generations obsessive need for immediate satisfaction.

Of course, the gradual increase of towers will evolve over time. Thankfully, the most important signature of Salt Lake City will always be it's incomprable landscape. That will always make most of the other postcards pale in comparison, and illicit the kind of trolling envy that one would expect from this kind of poll.
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  #17  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2013, 11:39 AM
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Whiners. I know I explicitly said my vote had nothing to do with Salt Lake. I'd probably vote no if you set up the same poll for Denver too. Or Phoenix. Although, I do think the smaller the city, the smaller the chance.

Face it, SLC grew up half a century too late, and you missed out on the big U.S. tower-building years. We're arguably in a new reality, where employment and economic growth slog along at a few percent per year, but unless there's another revolutionary change in the economy (that starts here), the major growth years are behind us. We're a mature economy now... And guess what, it takes a big spurt of demand all at once to build a big tower. And those are rare. You're much more likely to get a series of moderate-sized, easier to finance, lower risk buildings (which is exactly what's happening here). Unless you can do it with a single (or few) major tenants, a large building just can't beat a moderately sized one out of the gates. Which is why few of them happen. It's just how development works these days. So unless you can find a company that needs 800,000 square feet, and needs it all at once, you're just whining about your bruised egos, when you should be engaging your brains instead.

Something to remember as homers blather on about generational needs for instant gratification, cities making choices in gradually stepping up tower heights, as if they have some say in the matter, etc... Developers build buildings. Banks finance them. Companies lease them. Cities only permit them, or don't. Unless all of those are neatly aligned, nothing gets built. It's not trolling to point out the difficulty in getting a signature tower built, and it has nothing to do with some vague notion of whether your city "deserves" anything.

Although, I will say, that attitude does display a certain immaturity in your city's collective mindset. It sort of reminds me of Denver 15 years ago. Word to the wise: nobody respects a whiner.

Last edited by bunt_q; Apr 4, 2013 at 11:56 AM.
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  #18  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2013, 12:06 PM
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Pretty sure peoples votes on this forum are not going to be a deciding factor if SLC gets a signature tower or not. Haha Unless one of you has a magic crystal ball... we can't see the future! So...Im not letting this poll get to me. Simply because its just a fun question to ask, and ultimately holds no merit.
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  #19  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2013, 12:16 PM
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Something I feel I should add, because it seems like common knowledge to me, but maybe it's not:

Nobody is building $300 million speculative projects these days. They are simply impossible to finance (except for maybe in the absolute largest markets - NYC). Upfront equity requirements are higher, pre-leasing requirements are higher, credit is tighter in general, and probably will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Add to that - the bigger the building, the more expensive it is on square foot basis, and the longer it takes to permit, build, and bring online.

So not only do you need ever-more and earlier commitments for bigger projects, somebody willing to commit to lots of space all at once, they also have to be willing to make that commitment 2-3 years before that space is actually available. So you need a company that knows with certainty they will need a ton of space, but can wait a few years to get it. Also rare.

Basically, everything about market fundamentals is pushing us toward more modest buildings that require less $ up front, and can be built quickly. Uncertainly, modest growth, and tight money trump ego in 99% of developments.

The odds are very much stacked against any moderate sized city getting large towers unless there are no other alternatives. And out west, we have alternatives. I suppose you could, as a region, zone out office building anywhere but your downtown. But as long as a 200,000 sf building can be tossed up, that'll act as a release valve that prevents enough demand pressure from building to get you a big building, except in the rarest of circumstances.

EDIT: Incidentally, we see the same thing in other types of development as well. You can't get a bank or bond buyer to finance infrastructure/residential/retail development without guaranteed revenue streams to back it up anymore either - no more assuming development will follow. It's all equity up front until you've got something guaranteed to show a bank. Interesting times we live in - post-great-recession...requires some real creativity.

Last edited by bunt_q; Apr 4, 2013 at 12:26 PM.
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  #20  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2013, 2:33 PM
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I don't think a Signature Tower needs to be a Tallest. It helps if it is but I think a well designed building that is stunning and makes a statement that people can identify with the city would accomplish this.

If the CC Hotel does go on 1 of 2 plots that I have heard about, the CC Hotel would very likely end up near or over 500'. For some, that would be enough for a Signature Tower, I however would wait to see what the building looks like. A rectangle that doesn't have any real features isn't something I would classify as signature.
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