An Evolving Salt Lake City Hopes to Be Just Like Austin
Shedding its stodgy image, the city has become a destination for start-ups looking for cheaper space and younger workers on the hunt for roomier housing.
When Dino Fusco began traveling to Salt Lake City in the early 2000s for Goldman Sachss real estate arm, the odds of finding a coffee shop or brewpub were essentially zero. The influence of the generally conservative Mormon community over state politics and social issues made alcohol and caffeine scarce.
But in 2002, Utah began to plant the seeds of nearly two decades of economic and cultural change, no more evident than in Salt Lake City, the capital. The state is still reliably red and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fill the Legislature, but Salt Lake City has evolved into a center for tech, bioscience and financial firms, attracting a stream of workers who fill the new bars, cafes, festivals and art fairs.
Salt Lake City is really a nice alternative, said Mr. Fusco, now the chief operating officer of Silverstein Properties, a developer investing in real estate projects in the city.