Historic building in Granary District gets preservation grant

The historic Utah Pickle Building as seen from 400 West. Photo by Isaac Riddle.

It’s official, after just over a month of voting the proposed redevelopment of the Pickle Building will get some financial help in a $50,000 preservation grant from the Partners in Preservation: Main Streets grant campaign.

Salt Lake City was one of the 11 candidates selected by popular vote to split $2 million in preservation grants.  The size of the grants awarded was based on how many votes a project received.  Salt Lake was the 11th highest vote recipient. The campaign, led by American Express, National Geographic, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Main Street America, originally selected 25 cities and then turned to the public to vote on which historic projects were deserving of grant money.

“This campaign was a city-wide effort, and the fact that Salt Lake City came out a winner – due to popular vote – shows how engaged and excited our residents are for this proposed project,” says Mayor Jackie Biskupski in a statement. She adds, “Our City, and the Granary District, has so much history and a great story to tell. I’m thrilled we’ve secured this funding to save a piece of that unique history as Salt Lake City continues to grow, develop, and thrive as a city for everyone.”

Michael Ori, the owner of Studio Elevn a film production and creative coworking company, plans to redevelop the Pickle Building and adjacent Hide Building into a 1.5-acre, energy-efficient, creative campus for the local arts community.

Site plan for the proposed Pickle Building redevelopment. Image courtesy Studio Elevn.

The Pickle building, on the 700 South block of 400 West, was constructed in 1894 by former LDS Church President Heber J. Grant.  In its 123-year history, the building has been a soap factory, a pickle and condiment factory, and most recently an arts and event space.

According to Ori, the Granary District is the ideal fit for his vision because of the neighborhood’s wealth of creative and entrepreneurial establishments like Kilby Court and Fisher Brewery, and the district’s respect for its historic character.

According to Ori, by moving operations to an expanded campus in the Granary, Studio Elevn would increase its available studio, work and event space from its current 9,000 square feet downtown to 45,000 square feet in the Pickle and Hide Buildings.  In addition to the expanded studio and event space, the new campus would include gardens, a courtyard, a cafe and galleries.

The Pickle Building will include a green roof, or living roof, with significant portions that will be covered by vegetation.  Green roofs help lower a building’s energy costs by providing extra insulation.  The Pickle’s roof will also serve as additional outdoor space with seating and gathering areas.

The Hide building will also have green roof elements above a planned addition at the rear of the building.  Much of the Hide building’s roof will be clad in solar panels.  The roof will get a new skylight and the two-story addition will have significant amounts of transparent glazing to allow more natural light to enter the building.

Studio Elevn runs two programs designed to support and build awareness for emerging artists. The first called Inspired By is a video series of artists in the community which, according to Ori, allows artists to share their stories. The second program, Sponsor By, helps artists find financial support for individual film productions.

“As the Studio Elevn expansion into the Utah Pickle Company building is now one step closer to being a reality, I’m looking forward to cementing the Granary District as a center for creative business in the City,” said Ori in a statement.  “Every dollar towards the preservation of such an iconic building ultimately benefits everyone who see the potential of this district.”

*This is an updated version of a previous post.

Aerial rendering of the proposed Pickle Building redevelopment. Image courtesy Studio Elevn.

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.