Downtown Salt Lake City, circa 2025:
Really, tho, I have a hard time believing anything with that much dead space should take up four city blocks - and we're talking four SLC blocks. The Salt Palace has effectively divided downtown. The continued expansion will only deepen that divide for years to come. I know, I know, it needs to happen and who cares, anyway, right? But I do. I think western downtown is a hole and I'm afraid this isn't going to help matters.
The city really dropped the ball building the convention center so close to the city center. It should have been built west of the ESA, as most city convention centers are built on the outskirts of downtown, not just a mere block from the core - or tucked 'em away in a spot where they wouldn't act like a wall between areas.
Whatever. Build it out. What's a whole extra block, right? It's just a shame 200 S on the western end of downtown is quickly becoming isolated from the rest of downtown. I just fear, in 20 years, we'll be dreading having the convention center so close to the core. I feel, though maybe I'm wrong, it will stunt the growth of our center and create two downtowns that rarely, if ever, connect to one another.
The city should integrate some type of mixed-use development into the 200 S side of the convention center if they want to continue expanding westward. I think there is potential in the area, especially with the street car, but it's going to take investment and smart planning. 200 S should be the southern link between Main & the Gateway, while South Temple acts as the northern link (and can I say how much I hate that 100 S is cutoff here?). Support the redevelopment of the northern block on 200 S between 200 & 300 W. It's ugly. It's got an abandoned storefront, more parking than businesses and it's also what convention center goers see when they arrive into the city.
I guess my point is is that I think western SLC could turn more into an entertainment district with the convention center being where it is. But because it's such a hodgepodge of parking lots, lame-ass retail and shitty cheap hotels, there is no incentive whatsoever to wander through that area of the city. Between Main & the Gateway, you literally pass by more parking lots than businesses. That could be acceptable, to a degree, if it was on the outskirts of downtown. But it's not. The outskirts are still around the area of the Gateway now, not West Temple.
I mean, I've liked what they've sorta done with 200 S west of 300 West, but it needs to continue eastward and truly bridge that gap. Salt Lake is just too scattered right now and it's sad. Our downtown is great at Main and on the eastern side of the city, but everything west of Main, up until the Gateway, sucks donkey ass. It's ugly. It's desolate and I want to change that.
You know what? Fuck the Outdoor Retailer. I'm tired of their whining every few years. If they want out that badly, tell 'em to go. Yeah, it would hurt economically, but we'd get over it. No reason for the city to be held hostage by these people. Yes, build the convention center hotel. No, do not expand the Salt Palace any further.