Logan, Utah might not have a lot in common with the Granary District, an industrial neighborhood in Salt Lake City, but a group of students in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at Utah State University believe that the Salt Lake district has the potential to become one of the city’s most exciting neighborhoods.
“The Granary District is somewhere I would want to live,” said Scott Harris a senior at USU.
On Friday, Harris, along with sixteen other seniors at Utah State, presented extensive development ideas for the Granary District, southwest of downtown bounded by 600 South, 1000 South, 300 West and I-15. The ideas were a result of two semesters of research and a week long charrette in February.
According to Harris, most of the students involved expressed interest in living in a neighborhood like the Granary. The students’ interest in the urban district reflects a general trend among Millennials. The Millennial generation, people 18-34 years-old, is leading the current urban revival happening across the country. In Salt Lake City, the percentage of residents 18-34 living in and around downtown increased four percent between 1990 and 2012.
Millennials are more likely to seek out pedestrian, transit and bike-friendly, mixed-use neighborhoods than previous generations. The Salt Lake City region has the seventh largest percentage of Millennials among medium and large metros. But there are limited local options for the younger generation looking for a more urban style of living.
“The area (Granary District) needs more residential development; people want to live there because it is already affordable and the location is fantastic, but there isn’t much for them right now” said Elias Green, a senior at USU.
Green and Harris worked on the “Home Base” team that focused on the residential component and the creation of a complete neighborhood, a neighborhood that provides a variety of housing and retail options. The team proposes a residential mix of townhomes and three to four story apartment buildings, centered around small commercial nodes at key intersections. The group estimates that there are about 150 acres available to develop that could accommodate 9,300 to 14,000 new residents.
The students were divided into five groups focusing on different aspects of community development. Besides the “Home Base” or residential team, groups included: Dockside, Incubators, Outdoor Spaces and Spark.
“The Granary District has no open space,” said Cara Glabau a senior at Utah State and member of the “Open Space” team, “The Granary District can become an important link to the open space network within Salt Lake City.”
Glabau and her team focused on a three block area between 600 and 900 South and 300 and 400 West. The group wanted to pay homage to the neighborhood’s industrial roots and growing artist community. The team suggested street art silos, a beer garden, two separate event venues and demonstration wetlands as potential uses of open space.
“You want a place where you feel like you know everyone in the community, a place that provokes imagination and encourages exploration and can inspire the younger generations to visit or live there,” said Glabau. “You want to make places that aren’t too formal and allow personal interpretation, that the community can take over and develop, community based outdoor spaces.”
Apart from new housing and open space, the students suggested activating 900 South, they call “Dockside” by converting dock space along the corridor into public event space for events like the popular Granary Row and Granary Block Party.
The Granary District benefits from its proximity to downtown Salt Lake, I-15 and the 900 South TRAX station. A streetcar line has been proposed connecting the Granary to downtown via 400 West, but city leaders won’t move forward on plans for the the streetcar until the Transit Master Plan is finished.