The State of Utah is looking to build a new Downtown liquor store with 10-story parking garage

The State of Utah is getting ready to bid out a project that would include a new, two-story liquor store on Broadway and an up to 10-story parking garage behind it.

The liquor store would be built just over a block from another existing liquor store in Downtown Salt Lake City. It would replace the single-story store at 200 West 400 South, a property the state would likely sell.

The new store would infill what is currently a state-owned surface parking lot. The parking garage would add hundreds of parked cars onto Edison, which is otherwise becoming a walkable mid-block street off 300 South.

Jim Russell, head of the state agency tasked with overseeing construction of new buildings, confirmed the plans to Building Salt Lake on Thursday night.

Four of the 10 stories would be used by customers and loading trucks for the new liquor store, on the eastern corner of 300 S. Edison St. The other six, if built, would be used by residents in a yet-to-be unveiled residential building by Ivory Homes, Russell said.

“The state will have 118 stalls, and Ivory for their development will have 204,” Russell said. “I’ve got to caution you that we’re planning with Ivory in that. However, when we go to construction bidding, that is when [Ivory will] actually determine whether they’re in for the construction portion.”

A representative of Ivory didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the plans Thursday night.

Because the state is taking a lead on development of the parking structure, it doesn’t have to follow the city’s land use regulations. That will allow it to build a structure that could be 110 feet tall on the street that has been revitalized in recent years.

It will also add to the glut of parking Downtown.

An independent study of Salt Lake City’s parking in 2016 found that there was an unhealthy amount of parking in the urban core. The city had enough parking to sustain decades of rampant growth without the need to build more.

This sort of structure is the most expensive type of parking to build, at an estimated $4,135 per space in 2016 (likely higher today), according to the study by Nelson\Nygaard.

The report showed Salt Lake City had about 33,000 spaces in its Downtown, nearly as many as Denver despite being several times smaller than the Colorado capital. Parking utilization, meanwhile, was only around 60%.

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) referred all questions to the Department of Facilities Construction and Management (DFCM), which is overseeing construction.

DFCM said it plans to put the project out to bid likely before the end of the year. If it can find a contractor within budget, the project would likely be built before the end of 2022, potentially in time for the holiday rush that starts with Thanksgiving.

The parking structure would sit atop a portion of an existing surface parking lot that holds space for 66 cars owned by state employees working in the Heber Wells building across the street, Russell said. He said he needed to maintain those stalls and add space for another 50-60 cars for customers at the new liquor store.

The first level of the new parking garage will be used primarily by trucks delivering to the store, and by garbage and other services.

Russell noted that the state looked at options to allow people driving cars to access parking directly from 300 South, but that it couldn’t for a variety of reasons.

“The city did not like this exiting onto Edison Street. We did look at how could we go out to 300 South and how could we go east,” he said. “And they said, ‘How about if you put the store to the north?’ If we had done that then obviously you’d have a parking structure on 300 South and they didn’t like that either.”

Nick Norris, the chief of Salt Lake City Planning, declined to comment, saying he hadn’t seen the state’s plans on the 4-10-story parking garage.

Whether Ivory’s six stories are included in the final structure, Russell said, will depend on the bids that come in.

This rendering shows what would be a two-story state-run liquor store fronting 300 South near 150 East and a 10-story parking garage, accessed from Edison Street. The garage might be shared between the state and Ivory Homes, which is planning to redevelop buildings along 200 East and 300 South. Rendering courtesy of Jacoby Architects.

Ivory’s Development

These are among the first details about a project on a key remaining parcel on Broadway Downtown.

Ken Sanders, owner of Ken Sanders Rare Books, has been vocal about having to leave his long-time site due to redevelopment by Ivory, his building’s owner. He’s had a long-running crowdfunding effort that has raised nearly $160,000.

The developer also owns the retail shops that front 300 South west of 200 East, including The Green Ant furniture store, Urban Vintage, Shadowplay, City Creek Antiques, a frame shop and others.

While Ivory hasn’t shared details about plans for the two-story buildings, the site was included as part of an annual design contest by students at the David Eccles School of Business in 2020. 

The presentation by the winning group of students makes it clear the state has known since at least 2019 that it would relocate the liquor store to the 300 S. Edison parcel.

Students noted they were required to include an 11,000-square-foot state liquor store as part of their mock proposal, which also included a food hall, office space and 11-story residential tower.

The real liquor store will be slightly larger, at 15,000-square-feet, and it won’t include the two floors of office space above as proposed by the students.

The packet the students followed notes the state would work with the developer on the site, and that it needed about 100 parking stalls for Heber Wells and liquor store customers.

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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.