Big changes planned for Trolley Square

Rendering of the proposed Momentum Indoor Climbing gym. Image courtesy SK Hart Family of Companies.
As the retail industries adjust to a changing market, traditional malls are looking for new ways to bring in foot traffic.  For the Gateway, new owners are looking to the tech sector and the arts and entertainment as ways to revive the former mall.  The SK Hart Family of Companies, the owners of Trolley Square, see creating a mixed-use center and appealing to Utah’s outdoors and fitness culture as keys to reviving the mall on 600 South and 700 East.
SK Hart had previously announced plans to build a residential component to the south of the existing Trolley Square facility.  But those plans have evolved to now include the renovation of the current mall and a repositioning of its current retail mix.  On Tuesday, April 17, the mall’s owners released Request for Proposals for a theater and food hall.
According to the project’s architect, Stephanie Buranek of CBRE, the goal for the Trolley Square renovation is to create a premier uniquely Utah shopping, dining, entertainment and living destination.
To create a mixed-use destination, the development team will make significant changes to the current mall’s offerings.   While the mall’s popular tenants are expected to stay, the team hopes to reactivate the facility with enhanced dining and entertainment options and a renewed focus on local retail unique to Utah.
The proposed food hall will be between 15,000 and 30,0000 square feet and will occupy the second floor of the south face of the main building on 600 South.  The food hall would provide curated space for food vendors.  Although the SK Hart is seeking RFPs for the food hall, they are already in negotiations with an interested group.  The team also hopes to leverage spaces that can accommodate large outdoor dining areas to attract more small craft restaurants, bars and fast casual restaurants. 

Beyond enhancing dining options, the team wants to bring back the movie theater that was closed when the mall was last renovated a decade ago.  The mall’s owners are seeking proposals for a movie theater and sports entertainment center that would be built in relatively the same location as the previous theater.

In addition to permanent retail space, the developers are exploring small flexible retail pods that would occupy the second level area just west of the Google Fiber store.  The retail pods would be between 75 and 300 square feet and would be reserved for artisans and crafters that would like to complement their online presence with a small physical space.  Both the retail pods and the food hall would serve as incubator space for creative entrepreneurs.

Inspired by the success of current tenants like Orange Theory Fitness and Core Power Yoga, the developers want to expand the mall’s health and fitness presence.  Momentum Indoor Climbing will open an 11,000-square-foot fitness and climbing gym at the mall’s west side near the other fitness-oriented facilities.  The gym will open in next eight to nine months.

Renovation of the mall will coincide with construction of the Trolley Square Apartments.  Current plans for the residential component include a boutique hotel and up to 400 residential units that will be dispersed among five buildings on 600 South and 700 East.  The residential buildings will each be between four and six stories.  The developers are still finalizing the plans for the residential component and are studying the site’s water table to determine if all five buildings can be built above a shared subterranean parking structure or if the residential units will need to wrap around above-ground structures.

The RFP’s for the theater and food hall are due October 2018.  According to Taymour B. Semnani, of SK Hart, there is no construction timeline but the project will take three years to build once construction starts.

*Mike Fife contributed to this post.

Interior rendering of the proposed Momentum Indoor Climbing gym. Image courtesy SK Hart Family of Companies.r
Site plan for the proposed Trolley Square development. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.

Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at