In the summer of 1969, the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City (RDA) was established with a primary goal to revitalize areas within Utah’s Capital City that had experienced disinvestment and neglect. At the time, various types of urban renewal efforts were on the rise in major metropolitan areas. Salt Lake City’s RDA was one of several redevelopment agencies founded by municipalities nationwide during the mid-20th century. Government entities aimed to promote redevelopment by preserving historic buildings, improving public areas, reducing crime, streamlining transportation, and creating new housing and commercial opportunities.
In theory, these strategies were meant to bolster and revive major cities that were beginning to deteriorate structurally and slow economically. However, in practice, these renewal strategies often targeted and caused harm to minority populations through displacement and the creation of barriers to financial stability.
Today, we recognize the disparities caused by unjust development practices that were utilized in the past. As part of our present mission and values, we strive to put equity and inclusion at the forefront of everything we do.
Our role in hundreds of redevelopment projects that have helped cultivate many of Salt Lake City’s residential, commercial, and public places is vast and varied. Sometimes our contribution has been a land write-down to stabilize or spur development in a particular area (Heber Wells Building ’80, Central Ninth Market ’16, Macaroni Flats ‘17), often we funded public infrastructure (Pierpont Walkway ’92, Pioneer Park ’95, 500 West Utility Undergrounding ’09, Central Ninth Streetscape ’23), and many times we provided gap financing through our commercial and housing loan programs (Odyssey House ’00, Broadway Park Lofts ’14, Atmosphere Studios ’16, Jackson Apartments ’21, The Aster ’23). We have also assisted public entities in acquiring community assets (Capitol Theatre ‘76, Salt Palace ’84, Children’s Museum ’09), provided grants for affordable housing (Romney Park Plaza ‘84, CitiFront ’98, Artspace Bridges ’01, Pamela’s Place ’20), and participated in tax increment reimbursement partnerships (Gateway ’01, 222 Main ’08, Delta Center ’15). Find case studies on some of our completed projects below!