Craig Mecham’s Sugarhouse Loop: a great idea


This article by Brent Pace gives us his opinion on the new Sugarhouse Loop development in Sugarhouse, one of the greatest historic neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, UT.  Sugarhouse has had a hole in the ground at its very center for a long time now which will one day host this new development, but some residents are opposed to it.  The development would include two highrise towers built on pedestals, which would mean that they would have a few stories flush with the sidewalk, much like what exists in Sugarhouse, and then the rest of the buildings woud be set further back, creating a human-scaled streetwall with a lot more above.  As I’ve stated many times before, I agree with Christopher Alexander that buildings should rarely be above four stories, and I think this especially true in Sugarhouse, where few of the buildings are more than three stories.  New development should respect existing architecture in scale as well as materials.  This development respects the materials, but not the scale.  That’s my biggest problem with it.  Other than that, I think it’s a great development.  The commercial uses could restore the small retailers that used to dominate Sugarhouse.  Salt Lake’s future plans to extend a trolley line from the existing TRAX station at 2100 South to downtown Sugarhouse would allow people to live there and travel all across the Salt Lake Valley without owning a car.  This would help cut down car emissions, the greatest source of pollution in the Salt Lake Valley, which theoretically would be a great selling point in Salt Lake’s greenest neighborhood.  Personally, I love Sugarhouse (I got my engagement pictures taken there).  But when I was there last 4th of July and the buses weren’t running, I had to walk 15 blocks on my gimp knee to the TRAX station to get home.  If it were easier to get there, or if I could live, work and shop there (especially at local shops), I think it would be an even better place.  And I think the development will be much better than the curent hole in the ground.

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