The Granary District

Creating walkable, urban, human-centered neighborhoods in the Granary District.

To keep the great momentum going from the Block Party, what should the next steps to implementing the neighborhoods we want to see The Granary District be?

We're working on branding the District with a logo, etc. which should be done in a month or two. You can join the branding group here to stay up-to-date with the branding effort. 

We're also planning to conduct a community-driven Granary District Master Plan this fall in conjunction with the University of Utah Planning Department's program (more info forthcoming). Which will lead to micro-charrettes (intense planning sessions) for specific properties and blocks to give deliverables to property owners, etc. to rehab and redevelop their property.

These will be effective tools towards turning the Granary District around, but is there anything we can/ should do in the mean time besides growing the NING group and attracting future tenants?

Lets here it by replying to this discussion.


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I think that businesses are attracted to money, and money is found in wallets, and wallets are found with people. So I think the best thing to do is to get people down there anyway we can. There are tons of people that would like to go hang out down there because it has such a cool underground feeling there, and then the businesses that open up will have customers. I think having concerts at kilby is great, but maybe having a dance hall/discotech or whatever the kids are calling them these days would be a cool addition, maybe having movie events where we just throw up a white sheet and get a projector. The backyard of the Pickle Factory is a real gem, and having gatherings around bbq or anything back there would be awesome.

James, one thing I'd like to see, is a way for residents to educate ourselves about the development process (politics, zoning, decision making) that shapes the urban landscape in SLC, and how regular residents can engage in the process. There's a lot of talk about focus groups and resident input, but who's really calling the shots? and how do we make our voices heard? 


I think a teach-in would make a lot of sense. Is there anyone from the Block Party group, and/or the U who has a background in citizen political engagement with respect to urban development who could lead this?

Ben and Susan,

Great suggestions. Ben, I think a movie night, or dance night behind the Pickle Factory is a great idea! We need to get in touch with the new owner to see if we could use their property for this.


Susan, your apprehensions are well warranted. Municipal planning processes are very bureaucratic, and are often difficult to figure out and participate in meaningfully.

The goal of the community-driven Master Plan for The Granary District is to create a plan that the community wants, but also to have a tool for large community participation and to put the power in our hands so we can drive the growth of the neighborhood.

It will also be a platform for citizens to become more aware of the planning process and what can be done to actively participate. Professionals and local officials will (should) be present to address any questions anyone may have on the planning process, and the community will have an action plan for how to implement the community-driven Master Plan. 

That area behind the Pickle Factory will need to be cleaned up a bit, maybe we can work out some kind of deal, where we tidy things up and they let us use the land.
We are already working on the clean up. If anyone has an industrial grade wood chipper we could use to mulch the brush back there let me know and we could work something out if you all want to have an event in the back.

Hey Ben,


Do you know the pickle factory guy?

Haven't been on here in a bit but just checked in and saw this. I'd love to see the results of your master plans. That would be a very cool class- too bad I'm not in school at the moment. 


Things I would like to see:

Annexation of the entire granary into Christian's community council or a formation of a Granary District one. Having the area split between to makes things difficult for.... collective bargaining/representation. Also the area I'm in, south of 900 annexed into Luke Garrotts area, were like this little string against the fence stuck in the Ballpark/Peoples Freeway area. I have no idea how to do either of theses things though. 


This is a long shot but some kind of private "Quality Building Initiative Fund" probably non-profit that would work like an equity partner in projects that meet criteria such as sustainability, structural longevity, walkability, social responsibility etc. Something that mirrors the RDA but helps people fund that extra bit to make a good building a great building. That good neighborhood a great one. Its an idea I've been batting around since I went to europe, I know its a long shot but I'm just throwing idea's out there to see what sticks. But I have been talking to a few investor types and trying to get them on board.


Monthly Block Parties! Lou- you up for it in front of your place? (BTW It was a pleasure meeting you today.)



Just got back into town, so forgive the delayed response, Quinn. I think you're right on in regards to better Granary representation. It seems to be in no-man's land, like you said. Maybe you can start talking to some of your neighbors, local businesses to see if you can build a coalition for better representation. Power in numbers, and someone would have to listen.

I also like your idea of the QBI Fund. I believe that we have a similar tool in place: US, the market. We know what we want to see happen in District and as we build the future market, we will have the power to dictate the development and growth we want.

We will only engage developers with a quid pro quo — they get access to pre-sales and pre-leases, and in return they would have to build/rehab to the standards that the market wants, which most likey isn't stucco and vinyl :) I know it's more complex than this, but in a nutshell, we are in a position, after the crowdsourced master-plan, to dictate the growth of The District. We will be the town-architects, essentially, who make sure that the growth/ development is up to par to our realistic expectations.

I really enjoyed working on the Block Party and I've got some great ideas and how we can execute them. 


First, while it may be difficult navigating the maze of red tape trying to change zoning and district representation, and also important to do so, we have to focus on what we can do now to create the market we've all been discussing and grow it to a much, much higher energy level.


I feel like what we truly need is to work simultaneously on zoning/representation AND in the mean time work within the current zoning limitations to throw more events, on the cheap, and make the granary district an awesome environment to hang out in today.


We can't create our market before we create something to market (which the Block Party played a huge role in). This has been the paradox of my organization at Idea School, and I've had to reinvent. It's like the Little Red Hen story. Once we make the bread, everybody will want some. They just don't want to share the work.


Anyways my point is, zoning and all of that stuff is important, but we need to focus on making the district a cool place to be NOW, before we make any changes to zoning, so that we can further justify our efforts to lawmakers and our future market.


Some ideas:

  • More, smaller-scale block parties. It doesn't have to be an event, it just needs to be fun. We could find a way to have some type of party or event on a weekly basis. 
    • It's also possible that by hosting movie nights, as was previously mentioned, we could also provide food and possibly charge $3-5.
    • We should not need an event licence if we stay under 75 (kinda pulled that number out of you-know-where, but I feel like it's about on) people. 
      • If we get over this number we can always split the event in two or three, which is what we want anyways... a lot of little things going on around the whole district.
    • All we need is something fun to do, food (maybe), and a sympathetic property owner to lend us space. If we charge we can also cut in the property owner as well.
  • Maybe some guerrilla street theater or guerrilla art shows or something.
  • Plant greens around. Generally beautify the area.


Overall, I really like the idea of focused micro-actions and small events. If there is constantly something going on, it will be easy for people to focus their attention there. Having a big block party every 6 months or a year is awesome, but the major difference between neighborhoods like downtown proper, 9th and 9th, and Sugarhouse, compared to everywhere else is that there is always, ALWAYS something for me to do there. Every day, 24/7. 


We can't get there until we have coffee shops, cool bars, and maybe a book store, but we can start with micro-actions and creating fun on a regular basis.

Great post, Ryan.

Let's get on this, then. I think there are many great, fun, easy-to-put-on events that we can have now.

I think we can start with a movie night.

Then, I know people have talked about the idea of a neighborhood dance party. 

We should all get together in person to discuss this. How about sometime next week?

James, I think a business meeting is certainly in order. I am tremendously busy, as I am sure most people are, but I will definitely be there if I can.
I totally agree with Ryan, you can't expect businesses to move in to a location that doesn't have people, so how do you get people into a place without businesses, you have to lure them in some how and, to borrow a term, micro-actions seem the way to go.


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