As one of Salt Lake City’s oldest streets, Regent Street has been “re-invented” several times throughout our city’s history. With the arrival of the Eccles Theater on Main Street, Regent Street is entering a new phase as a home of entertainment and downtown night life.
If you have ever been to downtown Salt Lake City, you’ve probably missed Regent Street. Located between State and Main Streets, and 100 and 200 South, for many years, it has been treated as a “back alley” without a lot of reason to visit. In its early days, Regent Street, or “Commercial Street” as it was originally called, was home to Salt Lake City’s red light district, lined with saloons, shops, and small factories. With the arrival of the rail road, the street became home to many hundreds of Chinese immigrants, originally brought to Utah as laborers on the transcontinental railroad.
In the 1930’s, Regent Street began to change, becoming home to the city’s news media. With the arrival of the Salt Lake Tribune in 1927, and later the Deseret News, Regent Street became home to a massive print facility, churning out newspapers night and day for decades.
In the early 2000s, both the Tribune and the Deseret News moved away from Regent Street, and the print shop was shuttered. After a few years of construction, and the demolition of the print shop on Regent Street, the new Eccles Theater now backs onto Regent Street, bringing new life to Regent Street every night.
With the arrival of the theater, a local urban design team, lead by the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City, has created a new “place” on Regent Street. The Regent Street project incorporates important elements of placemaking, urban design, economics, landscape architecture, history, graphic design, urban planning, public art, and more. With a design team lead by GSBS Architects, VODA Landscape + Planning, and STRUCK branding agency, the new Regent Street is poised to become a new home for many shops, restaurants, and performance spaces. This new public space is situated in a key corridor between Gallivan Center and City Creek, and will become a unique experience for any resident and/or visitor to downtown Salt Lake City.
All of these elements are discussed in the podcast put out by VODA, titled the Regent Street Podcast. Following along on the bi-monthly podcast is a great way to understand the process the Redevelopment Agency and design team have gone through to envision Regent Street as a new downtown experience.
*Blog post contributed by Mark Morris, VODA Landscape + Planning