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U invests in downtown home

The University of Utah is investing in downtown Salt Lake City in a big way.

At a June 11 meeting, the university’s Board of Trustees signed off on the $38 million purchase of the City Centre at the northwest corner of State Street and 400 South. The 238,800-square-foot building includes 1.85 acres of land and surface and underground parking.

The acquisition will help consolidate the U’s downtown footprint, said Chief Real Estate Officer John Creer, providing a central home for several university offices spread throughout the city, from the Gateway to the Business Services Building on 500 East.

“This allows us to position the university to build a downtown presence,” Creer added. “These types of locations don’t exist—there are very few available downtown. We have a monetizable, developable corner that we can use for university growth, or, if we want to be optimistic, we monetize it in a variety of ways.”

About half of the building is currently occupied by business tenants. Creer said the U will continue to lease space in the building while campus master planners imagine educational uses for the building. At the same time, the university’s downtown leases will expire over the next six years. Some of those staff offices could be relocated to the City Centre.

The building includes 242 surface parking stalls and another 207 in the parking structure. It also is adjacent to the UTA TRAX red line which links directly to campus.

The trustees noted the relative affordability of the existing space—coming in at $159 per square foot, compared to nearly $400 per square foot to build new education buildings.

“This building was constructed really well and probably has 40 to 50 years of life left in it,” said trustee Steve Price. “It’s just a great building and a great location.”