SALT LAKE CITY - It was once known as the most eclectic part of Sugar House, but it's been an eyesore for nearly 5 years. Now another big blow for the historic part of town, where restaurants were hoping to make their debut just in time for the holidays.
The Granite Furniture Block project isn't far from what many refer to as the "Sugar Hole." They are two different projects, but one big headache for everyone involved.
"It has impacted me," says Susan Jarvis, who has been at Rockwood Art Studio along 2100 South and 1300 East since 2001. "At first when they tore everything down there was a mass exodus of artists from the building."
Jarvis managed to survive, but for merchants like Debbie Valline, it's not as easy.
"One of the reasons why we moved here was because of the additional foot traffic," Valline said.
Valline came to Local Colors of Utah a year ago, hoping the old building next door would be done by now.
"They were originally going to be open for December for the holiday shopping," but she also understands it was a huge undertaking.
Since construction started at the historic Granite Furniture Building in July, "Parking is a little bit challenging" says Laurie Bray, who helps run the Sugar House Santa Shack. The sidewalk was also closed, but part of it was reopened late last week.
Mark Isaac, who is the Project Manager for Granite Furniture Block owned by Sugar House Development says, "It took a long time for us to surgically demo the interior to decide how much of the old bones we could actually save."
He says the delay has a lot to do with preserving the integrity of the historic building.
"We had some design changes, design review delays which was actually it's a positive for our community because the city is busy, there's a lot of plans into review and the city is so busy they were behind, our reviews took a long time."
Isaac says if you're patient, the finished project will be something Sugar House can finally boast about.
"We have a burger restaurant opening, slated for January 16th. We have a really really cool pizza and wine bar concept that will open at the end of January."
A bakery, a local coffee shop along with other restaurants and office space will fill the 71,000-square-foot building.
The project is behind schedule by about three months, but Isaac says people can look forward to seeing the historic sign at Granite light up again. In less than two weeks, people driving by will get an idea as to who is actually moving in.