STORY BY DTA STAFF
What our new neighbors love about downtown Lara Fritts, Salt Lake City Economic Development Where are you from originally and how did you end up in Salt Lake City? I grew up in Wisconsin and spent the majority of my career in Washington, D.C. I came to Salt Lake almost three years ago to build and lead Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development. What do you think sets downtown Salt Lake City apart from other cities you’ve lived in or visited? Many people don’t realize that Salt Lake City proper is a town of only about 200,000 residents. For a city of this size to have an NBA franchise, Broadway-style performing arts theater, professional ballet, symphony and opera - and all downtown - is unheard of! The accessibility and access to all of these great assets and amenities is truly something that sets our downtown apart. What has surprised you about Salt Lake City? I’ve been in the economic development industry for over 25 years and what has surprised me about Salt Lake City is the partnerships. I’m continually impressed with the level of partnerships Salt Lake has with organizations and entities at the local, regional and state level - in both public and private sectors. We truly have a “Team Utah” approach to elevating Salt Lake City and Utah’s economic development and quality of life, which is truly incredible. The fact that Salt Lake City has hosted the world during an Olympic Winter Games and will soon host the world again during the United Nations Civil Society Conference is a testament to these incredible partnerships and about the ability to “get it done.” 22
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What do you look forward to in the next 5-10 years in downtown Salt Lake City? Downtown has a number of large projects that will begin construction this year, including a development on State Street, an office tower near Harmon’s and the Convention Center Hotel to name a few. Not only will these projects greatly impact those who live and work in Salt Lake City, but will be an incredible benefit for our visitors. It’s exciting to see the landscape of our city and downtown continue to change and evolve! What do you think downtown is currently missing? I think one thing downtown is missing is the opportunities with the vacant storefronts on Main Street. I would love to see (and I know my team is working with our partners to make it happen) those storefronts activated with upper-level residential units. The Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City (RDA) has invested $40-million over the past two years into housing - and particularly affordable housing. It’s important as we continue to do this work that we’re mindful that people want to live where they work. What advice do you have for those wanting to move their business or open a new business downtown? DO IT! Salt Lake City now has a department of economic development with a talented, nationally-recognized staff focused on corporate recruitment and retention, local and small businesses, workforce development, international trade and marketing. We want to make sure our entrepreneurs know that there are resources available to help businesses launch, succeed and thrive!
Let’s say you have a guest for 24 hours in downtown Salt Lake City. What will you share with them? Breakfast at Eva’s Tour of Temple Square Shopping at City Creek Center Lunch at Copper Onion Spend the afternoon at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art Cocktail hour at Lake Effect Dinner at Valter’s Osteria Either a show at Eccles Theater or a Utah Jazz game Wrap the day with a drink at Whiskey Street Finally, being a diehard cheesehead/Packers fan, where do you go for a taste of Wisconsin? Gracie’s is an authorized Packer’s bar in downtown Salt Lake City! #gopacgo I
spring / summer 2019