Intermountain to begin demolishing the Sears Building this week


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The Sears Building is coming down.

The long-time anchor in a sea of parking is set to be demolished as part of a secretive new development by Intermountain Healthcare, which owns most of the 10-acre block between 700 and 800 South, State and Main streets.

Hospital officials confirmed the imminent demolition but have declined to provide more details about what’s planned to replace the building.

However, a source told Building Salt Lake that staff at Intermountain were informed late last month the local non-profit plans to build a new hospital on the site by 2026.

The hospital would have 280 beds, the source said, which is more than the existing LDS Hospital but smaller than both Intermountain-Murray and the University of Utah hospital.

Intermountain officials haven’t confirmed their plans, other than to say they want a more centrally located facility.

It looks increasingly likely the healthcare provider plans to replace the LDS Hospital in the Avenues with a separate hospital in the center of Salt Lake City.

The Sears Building is approximately 112,000 square feet and sits on a 6-acre parcel of land. It’s not clear whether any eventual hospital would sit in a sea of parking, like Intermountain’s hospital in Murray, or whether it would continue the buildout of the urban core in south Downtown.

Past plans

The Colmena Group had planned to develop the site in four phases, starting at the block’s southeast corner fronting State and 800 South.

The first building, dubbed the Jetty, would have included an 11-story, 131-foot mixed-use building with 300 housing units, 400 parking stalls on four levels, and potentially space for a food co-op

That would have brought a substantial amount of housing and retail space into a Downtown-adjacent area that has attracted developers in recent years.

But IHC’s email makes clear it plans to develop the site into a medical facility.

Intermountain’s Wall said the “location offers convenient access to all we serve throughout Salt Lake Valley, patients from other parts of Utah, and other states.” 

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This post may be updated.

Posted by Taylor Anderson

Taylor Anderson grew up near Chicago and made his way West to study journalism at the University of Montana. He's been a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune, Bend Bulletin and Salt Lake Tribune. A move from Portland, Oregon, to Salt Lake City opened his eyes to the importance of good urban design for building strong neighborhoods. He lives on the border of the Liberty Wells and Ballpark neighborhoods.