One year ago, Main Street was mostly dead during the daytime. Trax riders would emerge; occasionally City Creek shoppers ventured south. The big eyesores were the vacant Tribune Building, the Utah Arts building, and the former restaurants Vasuvios and Braza Express, sad local casualties. But now Main Street has been infused with a huge amount of daytime sidewalk life due to the opening of Neumont University on Main.
The economic impact on local businesses seems to be much more positive than the City Creek Creek Center. For instance, Francis Liong opened Red Hot Kobe hot dogs adjacent to Lambs Grill. Students pour in every day, and his new business is doing great.
Stacey Hughes is the public relations director for Neumont. She says moving their campus from suburban South Jordan to the Tribune Building on Main Street has been great for the somewhat reclusive programmers. “We wanted the students to be in a vibrant culture. It’s really great to see them interacting with the city so much. When you come to Salt Lake City, the Utah stereotype is tipped on its head,” Hughes added. “In the suburbs they would go to their classes all day then return to their apartments all night. Now they do all their grocery shopping by riding Trax, they visit the local restaurants and bars, and they are walking around.”
Neumont University is one of the top-rated computer science schools in the country for placing graduates in high-paying jobs. Hughes says that most of the students are between the ages of 18-25, and most will find jobs paying over $40,000 when they graduate. Neumont’s new building features five floors of classrooms, project rooms and meeting areas, with the upper five floors dedicated to student housing. We asked students if they liked the new campus over the old, and several said they appreciate the ability to live without being required to drive a car.
Eighty-five percent of Neumont’s students come from out of state to attend, but ninety percent decide to take jobs in Utah and stay in Utah. “Most really love the quality of life found in Utah,” Hughes said.
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