Shopko block’s architects revise project design

Rendering of the north face of the proposed Shopko Block development. Image courtesy Dixon Architects.

After multiple meetings with residents, business, community leaders and the Salt Lake City Planning Commission, developers Sentinel Development in collaboration with real estate investment company, Westport Capital Partners, have debuted updated project renderings for their proposed redevelopment of the Shopko site in Sugar House near 1300 East and Interstate 80.

According to the project’s architect, David Dixon of Dixon Architects, the updated design reflects input from area stakeholders and a work session with the planning commission balanced with the needs of the project’s future tenants.

“We pulled more activity to the street to provide functions that are more amenable to the pedestrian level,” said Dixon.

The project consists of four structures, a residential mixed-use building, an office building, a medical clinic and a parking structure.  The project will also include a new public street, the reopening of Stringham Avenue, and enhancements to Ashton Avenue.

Rendering of the clock tower looking southwest from Stringham Avenue. Image courtesy Dixon Architects.

The buildings will replace 9 acres of underutilized land near the heart of Sugar House.  The two new east-to-west streets to the north and south of the development that will connect Highland Drive to 1300 East.  The development will also include two new north to south throughways connecting Ashton to Stringham.

Most of the revisions in the updated design focus on some of the most controversial elements from previous renderings including breaking up the buildings’ scale at the street level, several redesigns of building elements and adding more active uses along Stringham Avenue.

The office building will no longer have its entrance on Ashton Avenue.  Instead, the building’s entrance will face Stringham at the top of parking podium.  The office building will be 6-stories with 150,000 square feet of office space and will occupy the center of the development area.

In addition to being re-oriented away from Ashton Avenue, the architects have redesigned the building’s exterior based on resident feedback.  The building’s original design featured a mostly glass exterior.  The new design utilizes a greater mix of materials that Dixon argues better reflects traditional architecture in Sugar House.

Rendering of the proposed art gallery space looking south from Stringham Avenue. Image courtesy Dixon Architects.

Both the office building and medical clinic will sit atop the two-story parking podium.   The outpatient clinic will be located at the northern end of the project area, near 1300 East and will be five stories with 170,000 square feet of office space.

The medical building will house a University of Utah health center that will offer full outpatient services, including the Moran Eye Center, primary care, radiology, urgent care and specialist services.  The clinic will have a valet parking and horseshoe parking entrance to the west of the building atop the parking podium.  Because of the slope of the site, the clinic’s entrance will be accessible at grade from Stringham.

The architects have redesigned the ground floor of the University of Utah clinic that will include a pharmacy, the Moran Eye Center and a deli.

While many residents, and even commission members, questioned the location of the office building, Dixon argues that the building must be set back from Stringham to accommodate the unique needs of the University of Utah that must provide a covered drop-off area for patients.  Dixon also argued that if all three buildings abutted Stringham they would disrupt each other’s views.

The third building will be a seven-story residential building with five wood-framed floors atop a two-story parking podium.  The building will consist of approximately 180 units.  The wood-framed levels will be setback at the podium level with retail space available at the north end of the building fronting Stringham Avenue.

Rendering of the ground floor retail space looking southeast from Stringham Avenue. Image courtesy Dixon Architects.

According to Dixon, the architects redesigned the residential building to reflect the art deco style that was common in historic Sugar House architecture.

Dixon argues that apart from trying to satisfy different stakeholders, the biggest challenge has been expanding connectivity while creating a new public street that accommodates both cars and pedestrians.

Architects have designed a small plaza that will occupy the mid-block median of Stringham Avenue.  The plaza will include a clock tower that Dixon designed in a way to pay homage to the Monument Plaza on 2100 South.  In addition to the plaza, outdoor seating areas will be outside of the residential building’s retail area and Stringham will be lined with landscaping.  A large portion of the parking podium will include window display areas and a gallery space fronting Stringham.  The original intent was to just have the window boxes line Stringham but after meeting with the planning commission, the developers decided to expand a portion of the display areas to serve as a 500-square foot art gallery.

The developers will formally present the revised design to the Salt Lake City Planning Commission on June 28,  during a Conditional Building and Site Design Review (CBSDR) with the commission.

Revised design of the residential portion of the redevelopment of the Shopko block. Image courtesy Dixon Architects.
Revised design of the office building in the redevelopment of the Shopko block. Image courtesy Dixon Architects.
Revised design of the University of Utah medical clinic as part of the redevelopment of the Shopko block. Image courtesy Dixon Architects.

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