Church wants to add history-inspired signs on Regent Street

Construction is underway on enhancements to Regent Street. Photo by Isaac Riddle.
Construction is underway on enhancements to Regent Street. Photo by Isaac Riddle.

While the new lights may not be red, Salt Lake’s former red-light district could soon be illuminated with new signage.  On Wednesday the Planning Commission voted to forward a favorable recommendation to City Council for a zoning text amendment to create a signage overlay district for the Eccles Theater block (the block bounded by Main and State Streets and 100 and 200 South).

According to the city’s zoning code, signage overlay districts “have common design elements that can be complemented and enhanced through the use of special signage.”

The signage district for the Eccles block is intended to create thematic placemaking, especially along the 100 South block of Regent Street, that incorporates the theater, improvements to Regent Street, current and future retail and the anticipated Regent Street Hotel.

The applicant for the zoning amendment is Utah Property Management Associates (UPMA), a subsidiary of Property Reserve Inc. the real estate arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  UPMA owns the off-white concrete building on the southeast corner of the intersection of Regent Street and 100 South and the adjacent Regent Street Garage, a ten-story parking garage that occupies a significant portion of the of the east side of the block.

This archived photo of Main Street shows the type of signage popular downtown mid twentieth century. Image courtesy Salt Lake planning documents.
This archived photo of Main Street shows the type of signage popular in downtown during the mid twentieth century. Image courtesy Salt Lake planning documents.

Rebecca Delis, property manager for UPMA wrote to planning staff that UPMA is upgrading its properties on Regent Street in conjunction with the addition of the Eccles Theater and the city’s upgrades of Regent Street.

According to Delis the proposed new signage will, “not only help the public to find their way in this new environment but will add to the ambiance of this new theater district.”

Delis described the design of the new signs as “reminiscent of the historic theaters of the area, creating a nostalgic experience.”

The initial enhancements to Regent Street are slated to be finished by fall 2016, the same time that the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater and 111 Main will officially debut.

Site plan for new signage on the Regent Street Garage. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.
Site plan for new signage on the Regent Street Garage. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.

Improvements to Regent Street will include an enhanced streetscape that is both pedestrian and car friendly, a pedestrian plaza that connects to Main Street and public art designed to attract visitors and create a sense of place.

Although the Regent Street Garage and Eccles Theater occupy the largest portions of Regent Street, other property owners on the block are updating their properties.  UPMA is updating the office building at the southeast corner of the 100 South and Regent Street intersection.  The building, that previously greeted pedestrians on Regent Street to a concrete wall, will be opened up on the ground floor with large windows and increased street engagement.

Popular restaurants on Main Street like Eva’s Bakery and Lamb’s Grill plan to utilize their connection to Regent Street by including a separate entrance to their establishments from the street or create a separate culinary offering altogether that solely fronts Regent.

Construction is expected to start next year on the Regent Street Hotel, a proposed 22-story mixed-use development that will include a hotel, ground floor retail and residential units by Form Development.  The Regent Street Hotel, planned for the northeast corner of the intersection of Regent Street and 200 South, will incorporate the historic Felt Electric building, a building with an eclectic history that includes being a brothel, cigar store, home of the Felt Electric Company and attorney’s offices.

Rendering by GSBS Architects showing enhancements to Regent Street as seen from 100 South and Main Street. Image courtesy GSBS Architects.
Rendering by GSBS Architects showing enhancements to Regent Street as seen from 100 South and Main Street. Image courtesy GSBS Architects.
Rendering by GSBS Architects showing enhancements to Regent Street as seen from 200 South and Main Street. Image courtesy GSBS Architects.
Rendering by GSBS Architects showing enhancements to Regent Street as seen from 200 South and Main Street. Image courtesy GSBS Architects.
Rendering of the pedestrian walkway that will connect Main Street to the pedestrian plaza on Regent Street. Image courtesy GSBS Architects.
Rendering of the pedestrian walkway that will connect Main Street to the pedestrian plaza on Regent Street. Image courtesy GSBS Architects.

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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 isaac@buildingsaltlake.com.