Technology Hub Planned for West Downtown

Peter Coroon, Brad Stone and Erin Valenti discuss downtown development.

Peter Coroon, Brad Stone and Erin Valenti discuss downtown development.

A group planning to develop a technology hub in downtown Salt Lake’s west side held a meeting last night to share their vision and solicit ideas.

The group hopes to develop office space and retail near the transit hub to connect the capital city with businesses in Utah Valley and Ogden using Frontrunner as transit.

City Weekly publisher John Saltas spoke of the city’s past as a hub for the railroad and how that created business opportunities for businesses, especially in the Greek community.

Technology companies have developed Utah County to the point people have to get into their car to get something to eat complained Joel Smith who is leading the development of the project. Developing a tech hub in Salt Lake has to incorporate walkability and public transit he explained.

The development of Utah as a technology and startup state has left Salt Lake behind to a certain extent. The Gateway bustled during StartSLC in January but the biggest businesses involved all went home to Utah and Davis counties. The technology hub hopes to create business growth in Salt Lake while connecting it to the cities north and south of the capital city.

A number of coworking spaces have opened in the downtown area of Salt Lake and some were represented at the meeting. While they provide valuable space and services for early stage startups, “next phase” office space for small companies is needed downtown.

One topic that dominated the conversation was the technology skills gap that exists in Utah. Top technology talent takes a long time to develop and many leave to other states where salaries are higher. It’s also harder for the state to recruit businesses because of the lack of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) talent.

Our opinion is a dedicated technology district in Salt Lake that factors in transportation, sustainable growth, energy efficiency and education is a welcome and needed addition to downtown.

 

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