It’s a rare chance for any city to rebuild on so large of a blank slate, this close to downtown. Since the Fleet Block area lacks pressure from existing property owners or immediate neighbors on the underused Fleet Block site, Salt Lake City has relatively free reign on new zoning that regulates design, density, and parking minimums on a block within easy walking distance of downtown.
Here, our master plan will create a new innovation district—a place for cross-pollinating ideas between university research and development, tech companies, and creative and medical offices—that draws young professionals to work and live in a neighborhood well-served by alternative transportation, including adjacent light rail station and a proposed streetcar loop.
Framed by the Delos WELL Building Standard, which prioritizes health and wellness in design and construction decisions, our research studied how surroundings affect people to either create or discourage vibrant cities. What we learned became the Fleet Block Redevelopment Framework: a place that fosters innovation, provides housing options in a city that needs more, creates a thriving community, and sets a vision for Salt Lake City urban living with a strong sense of place.
Our master plan will guide Fleet Block’s growth into a pedestrian-friendly, human-scaled, mixed-use neighborhood. We will keep intact the warehouses and silos and midcentury industrial architecture, these aspects that give Fleet Block its unique character, while taking full advantage of the area’s proximity to the airport, University of Utah, and Research Park. A broad range of housing types, from live-work studios to family-oriented townhomes (including prefabricated modular housing, luxury condos, and affordable housing), will create the necessary density to support complementary amenities, services, and the district’s tech, medical, educational, and creative industry tenants.
The city has distinctly large blocks and streets, initially designed to accommodate a variety of scales and uses. Automobile-centric planning in past years reinforced an un-walkable, urban character. With an activated parkway, central plaza, and a network of green streets, our design creatively reduces the block scale in the Granary District to create a memorable, walkable community.
Creative adaptive-reuse strategies will preserve Fleet Block’s special qualities: The Silo Towers will become a landmark. Restaurant Row will incorporate historic brick buildings. The existing rail line will become a pedestrian/bike path connecting Restaurant Row and the Fleet Block area to the ballpark stadium one mile south. The proposed Fleet Block tower follows the innovative spirit of the city’s founding, using a timber structure for the 12-story high rise. Drought-resistant vegetation, not only on the ground, but on roofs, provides thermal comfort and dissipates environmental erosion.
Ultimately, our plan for Fleet Block extends Salt Lake City’s urban downtown into what will become a dynamic business/research community, a lively retail destination, and a flourishing place to live.