By Tony Semerad, The Salt Lake Tribune
Downtown Salt Lake City’s newest office tower — dubbed 111 Main — is officially off the ground.
Some 387 feet off the ground, to be precise.
Community, civic, faith and business leaders gathered Thursday to celebrate and pray over completion of the glittering skyscraper seen by many as a symbol of the urban core’s improving fortunes.
Standing at the corner of Main Street and 100 South, next to the equally new Broadway-style George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater, 111 Main rises 24 stories, with a lobby clad in 35-foot-high windows and a massive video wall flashing images of Utah’s renowned landscapes.
“Isn’t this an incredible space?” glowed Mark Gibbons, president of LDS Church-owned City Creek Reserve Inc., the new building’s lead developer and owner.
The energy-efficient tower adds 439,611 square feet of high-end offices to the central business district, adjacent to the City Creek Center shopping mall and the Gallivan Center plaza.
The rectangular tower is crowned with a 32-foot-high translucent glass cap equipped with 132 multicolored LED lighting projectors, capable of colorful nightly displays on the city’s skyline.
“It is clear Salt Lake City has a new icon,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski, “and this is just the beginning.”
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams said 111 Main eventually will bring as many as 4,000 new visitors to the heart of the city each weekday. “Imagine what that will do,” he said, “for the revitalization of Main Street and our downtown.”
City Creek Reserve declined to share the cost of 111 Main. But a similarly sized tower just down the street, 222 Main, sold for $170.5 million in 2014, a record price for downtown real estate at the time.
The new building was designed by architects with Chicago-based Skidmore Owings & Merrill and Salt Lake City’s VCBO Architecture. It was erected in about 30 months by another Utah firm,Okland Construction.
It ranks as the city’s third-tallest structure, just below the Wells Fargo Center (422 feet) and the LDS Church Office Building (420 feet).
The tower also makes Utah architectural history by deploying a unique hat-truss system that props up most of the building’s weight from its roof instead of the ground. That design lessened the need for columns and allowed floor-to-ceiling windows on upper floors for sweeping views of the valley.
With a 2,100-ton suspended steel lattice hung from a concrete core, the hat-truss design also let 111 Main designers include a 43-foot cantilever extending over the roof of the theater to the south.
The luxury high-rise opens amid trends of suburban employers relocating downtown and national companies choosing Salt Lake City for regional headquarters.
And, in a sign of demand, its spaces are already more than 80 percent leased with a mix of tenants in the financial, legal and real estate sectors, anchored by multinational banking firm Goldman Sachs.
“And we’re still trying for more,” said Bruce Lyman, City Creek Reserve’s director of asset management.
Goldman Sachs Managing Director David Lang said the amenities and a widening range of downtown attractions were helping the worldwide company recruit and retain young executives.
With praise for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for “getting this project right,” Biskupski said 111 Main would “allow the continued economic development growth which keeps our downtown rising.”
The mayor also lauded city Redevelopment Agency staffers, who helped guide the project alongside their work on the Eccles theater and a $12.8 million face-lift of nearby Regent Street.
Initially developed by Hamilton Partners — authors of 222 Main — the Chicago-based company sold its interest in 111 Main in 2014 to City Creek Reserve, which completed the project.
Gibbons said the handoff was sparked by engineering challenges with the hat-truss system, intended to give more floor space to the Eccles theater. The $119 million, 2,500-seat arts complex is set to open in October.
Before joining in a ribbon-cutting Thursday, Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé, who oversees the LDS Church’s vast real-estate and commercial holdings, offered a benediction and called the tower “a unique culmination of art, science, technology and culture.”
For Mormons, “this is sacred ground,” Caussé said before leading the crowd of about 100 people in prayer.