Utah Stories

Are Local Businesses Being Pushed Aside in Sugar House

Sugar House: From local flair to corporate dominance.


sugar house funky corridor
Will this funky local Sugar House corridor of businesses soon be demolished?

The corporate chains have descended on Sugar House like the plague. Buffalo Wild Wings, Potbelly Sandwich Shop and Mellow Mushroom are attempting to dominate the once completely local restaurant scene. Wasatch Pub and The Annex by Epic Brewing are the exception to the new restaurant scene on the Granite Block.

The “new Sugar House” is almost complete and the eclectic charm, local flair, artist and punk scene are replaced with boredom-ville, USA. Sugar House is now generating cash siphoned out of the local economy to enrich Wall Street shareholders. Wild Wings and Potbelly Sandwich Shop are both publicly traded companies. Developer, Craig Mecham, who bought up the properties to tear down historic Sugar House will have a flush retirement. Thanks Craig.

We weren’t going to go on the attack, but since Craig refuses to answer out phone calls for comment, to confirm or deny phase two, we are just reflecting the opinions of residents and local business owners in the area.

Now for the next phase Craig will tear down yet another great part of Sugar House where businesses like Fat’s, Sugar House Furniture, Omar’s Rawtopia, One World Gifts, and the Barbershop are located. If he gets his way all of the cool, local and cultural aspects of Sugar House will be replaced by, the rumor is, a University of Utah health clinic. Really?

Most of the best frontage in Sugar House is comprised of the businesses just mentioned and now it’s going to be a massive health clinic? There is a less-than-five-years-old IHC on 900 East. There is another U of U clinic just tot he east. There is an over-55 housing complex going up across the street, but do they really think there will be enough of that age group developing pulmonary conditions due to the pollution to merit yet another clinic?

We spoke to a few of the tenants and they are hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. There was a rumor that The Bar in Sugar House had already sold out. The rumor is false. Fat’s is actively seeking a new home. And Square Nest just completed a move into the new development. Their rent is increasing substantially, but they believe it is the right move.

Redstone said that Starbucks wanted to enter their development and they told them it wouldn’t be a good fit. They have a few good local restaurants including Melty Way and Flatbread (almost local, they have just one other location in Boise.) But let’s show all the massive publicly traded restaurants who hope to cash in they can stay in Draper or Sandy. Keep Sugar House local and support the locally-owned restaurants and retail.

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