Competition urges designers to reimagine downtown SLC blocks

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SALT LAKE CITY - Architects and designers from around the world have been invited to help shape the future of two blocks of downtown Salt Lake City.

The focus in the blocks on either side of Main Street between 100 South and 200 South.

The area will be home to a new 2,500-seat performing arts center, and Salt Lake City leaders, Zions Bank and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have organized a competition to help re-envision the area around the new theater.

"We sort of all know what it's like to go somewhere and lose yourself in a city right? This competition is all about that," said Greg Walker, Young Architects Forum. "We're doing a competition that's just about the spaces in between, we just want to connect those things, that's what this competition is about."

Salt Lake City's massive 10-acre blocks were designed with agriculture and self-sufficiency for Mormon settlers in mind, and organizers hope the competition takes that in mind, focusing not only on the main roads, but also back alleys.

"Right now we don't have any plans to remove any additional buildings to accommodate these designs. As I understand it the competition is to capitalize on the connects possible in the spaces that exist," said DJ Baxter, Salt Lake City redevelopment agency.

"Connecting through these very large Salt Lake City blocks in a very coherent way to make the public experience a wonderful one," said designer Mitch Hirsch.

Hirsch says they will be reviewing more than 200 entries from locals and from countries around the world.

A jury will narrow down the competition to the finalists, and the public will get to vote on those finalists starting on May 10. The winning designer will be announced in June. The winner will get $40,000.

For more information, visit sixtynineseventy.com.