A new skyscraper on State Street is one part office tower and one part Latter-day Saint meetinghouse. | Urban Living

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

A new skyscraper on State Street is one part office tower and one part Latter-day Saint meetinghouse.

Urban Living

Posted By on April 10, 2024, 4:00 AM

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I went to a friend's new office at 95 S. State Street—you know, the all-glass, 25-story building that sits on the corner of 100 South and State, just west of Harmons. It's a beautiful building inside, but what really impressed me is the fact there is a four-story meeting house for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at the base of the tower.

Frankly, upon learning this, I did a palm-to-forehead slap and said to myself, "Brilliant!" You can tell when walking or driving by the building that the first four floors look much different than the glass tower. Look closer and you'll see a church steeple not on top of the glass tower but coming up from the street in between the building (heading north on State Street) and the canopy covering the tunnel entrance under State Street on historic Social Hall Avenue. The original Social Hall for gatherings was there and used until 1922.

Many forward-thinking developers like to see a variety of uses in a project and many cities require joint-use spaces in their zoning rules and regulations. For example, it's common to have retail on the street level of high rises that cater to pedestrian traffic such as restaurants, bars, convenience stores, boutiques, etc.

The building at 100 South and State currently hosts six congregations (wards) for their weekly worship meetings—one of them for young single adults and another one for Spanish-speaking members. There are two chapels, which can host two congregations at the same time as well.

This meeting house was built to accommodate all the saints who are renting downtown in the new apartment buildings that have gone up recently and to promote a walkable community. If you're familiar with downtown Salt Lake City, think for a minute ... where are the ward houses and stake centers? There are very few of these buildings for worshippers in the heart of the city, so it only makes sense to have a mixed-use for business and worshippers in the same space. During nice weather there's a roof terrace for office tenants during the day and for church groups at night and on the weekends, a Sunday School room and a place for the women's Relief Society to meet.

This isn't unique for the church itself to capitalize on mixed-use. Due to high rents, they have created joint-use spaces in Virginia, Alexandria, Brussels, London, and New York. The office towers provide revenue for the meeting houses.

The church has stated that tithes were not used to construct the office tower and that it was instead developed by City Creek Reserve, the real estate arm of the church. And in New York, the Manhattan location at 125 Columbus Avenue is under renovation and members will be sharing space for the next few years in the beautiful and historic West End Collegiate Church on the corner of West End Avenue and 77th Street.

About The Author

Babs De Lay

Babs De Lay

A full-time broker/owner of Urban Utah Homes and Estates, Babs De Lay serves on the Salt Lake City Historic Landmark Commission. A writer and golfer, you'll find them working as a staff guardian at the Temple at Burning Man each year.

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