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Intermountain Healthcare announces it has purchased the Sears Block


Intermountain Healthcare purchased approximately eight acres of land in downtown Salt Lake City.

The land was home to the Sears department store, which closed several years ago before being sold to a developer who was working on the construction of mixed-use housing in what would have been an extension of the city’s urban core in the south of downtown.

This project persisted as developers struggled to secure funding during the pandemic. On Friday, a hospital administrator announced that IHC had purchased the block.

“Intermountain Healthcare has acquired a property in downtown Salt Lake City for future use to improve the health services available to residents in the area,” wrote Heather Wall, administrator of the IHC Hospital, according to an email shared with Building Salt Lake on Friday.

“The plans are still under development,” Wall continued, “I look forward to sharing the details with you as they are developed.”

The Sears Block includes land between State Street and Main Street, 700-800 South.

The Colmena group had planned to develop the site in four phases, starting at the southwest corner of the block facing State and 800 South.

The first building, dubbed the pier, reportedly included an 11-story, 131-foot mixed-use building with 300 housing units, 400 four-level parking spaces and potentially space for a food cooperative.

This would have brought a substantial amount of housing and commercial space to an area adjacent to the city center that has attracted developers in recent years.

But IHC’s email makes it clear that it plans to develop the site into a medical facility.

The IHC said that “the location provides convenient access to everything we serve in the Salt Lake City Valley, to patients in other parts of Utah and other states.”

The site would put any future medical center or hospital close to the city’s TRAX streetcar line on Main Street and a high-frequency bus line on State. But you don’t have to look far to see that even supreme access to public transportation can still lead to hospitals with ample surface parking.

The Intermountain Medical Center is located next to Murray Central Station, but it includes acres of above ground parking.

Salt Lake City has made an effort to expand its biotech industry, designating a “life science corridor” spanning the east and west sides. Future development by IHC would be close to this corridor.

It is not known what a development for the LDS hospital of IHC in the avenues would mean.

Representatives of Colmena Group did not respond to a request for comment.


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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion