A gutting loss for Sugar House after fire rips through development
A massive fire at a nearly-complete apartment complex is a devastating setback for Sugar House.
What happened: The Sugar Alley apartment complex was ravaged late Tuesday night by a fire that forced hundreds of neighbors to evacuate and showered ash over southeastern Salt Lake City.
Why it matters: The building was set to be the finishing touch on a long — and often painful—redevelopment in the neighborhood's central business district during the past 15 years.
- About 200 apartments were set to open next year, bringing some relief to Salt Lake City's excruciatingly tight rental market.
- The building was also going to house restaurants and shops on the ground floor, helping to make the neighborhood more walkable.
Yes, but: Now it could be years before the site is functional, Sugar House Community Council chair Landon Clark acknowledged.
Catch up quick: The building sits near 2100 South and Highland Drive, on a block that has seen years of upheaval and controversy related to stop-and-go development plans.
- A developer in 2008 demolished much of the block, which had been a hipster neighborhood with popular local shops. Then the recession hit, and the heart of Sugar House was left empty for years — a blight known as the "Sugar Hole."
- After new buildings and some tax dollars finally filled the Sugar Hole, the same developer ejected more businesses to the south, including two beloved bars, to build a clinic and office tower — but that also fell through.
- The demolished site sat empty until another developer, Lowe Property Group, proposed the Sugar Alley project in 2019.
What they're saying: "It's devastating," Clark told Axios. "There's a lot of projects going on currently, and this is one that was just wrapping up."
- Lowe was "on the forefront" of efforts to make Sugar House more pedestrian-friendly, Clark added.
What's next: Fire crews told KUTV they planned to begin demolishing part of the burned building Wednesday night.
- Lowe didn't immediately return calls for comment.
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