Utah Stories

Google Goes Big In Trolley Square

Google Fiber has big plans for Salt Lake City.


The Google Fiber Announcement Event at Trolley Square

 Google Fiber chose historic Trolley Square, in Salt Lake City, to open what is only the second store in the world for them. The store will be used to showcase Google’s gigabit Internet speeds once they begin rolling out Google Fiber in Salt Lake City.

The store is mostly complete, but it won’t open until Google begins offering the services, which will likely happen towards the end of this year. Once it is open they will offer demonstrations of what can be done with Internet speeds 100 times faster than what is currently available.

Since Google created their parent company, Alphabet, they decided to begin strategically rolling out high-speed fiber optic Internet in select cities. Provo, Utah was one of the first cities along with Austin, Texas. Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski spoke at the announcement event saying, “What Google is building will undoubtedly be a game changer for our city. Kansas City, Austin and even Provo have seen businesses flock to their cities chasing the incredibly fast Internet speeds that Google Fiber can provide.”

Utah Stories spoke with Trolley Square owner Khosrow Semnani and asked him how the negotiations with Google transpired, “I wish I could take credit. They could have gone anywhere, but they chose to come here.” He added, “This is a huge milestone for us.” Salt Lake City Civil Engagement Manager Noel Walkingshaw worked with Google on the digital inclusion and social equity strategies. He couldn’t say what Google’s total investment is in Salt Lake City, but sources say it’s at least in the tens of millions of dollars.

Will Trolley now try to lure Apple and Microsoft to Trolley? “The mall needs a lot of help, and we are making infrastructure improvements… We have two other negotiations we are working on that I’m not at liberty to talk about, but the Fall Event Center and Alice Lane are also great recent additions,” said Semnani.

Trolley Square was bought out by Semnani who was formerly the owner of Energy Solutions. One of the newest tenants located directly across from the Google store is the Chalk Garden Lanny Barnard Gallery. Richard Barnard operates the store, “We have been anticipating their opening since last fall, we are very glad to see they are here,” he said. Barnard operated the Chalk Garden in Trolley Square from the mid nineties to 2001. Barnard’s family was one of the original investors in Trolley and his family owns the Desert Edge Pub. “Trolley has always been a great place for local retail, we were very happy that they wanted us here and we are pleased to be here, and we hope for great things,” said Barnard added.

Devon Bear, the Associate City Manager for Google Fiber said, “We would expect to finish up with the entire city by the end of 2017. This is a massive construction project” Baird added that the difference for the average consumer will be similar to the difference we realized when consumers went from dial up to broadband. “With a gigabit of speed we can build the future right here in Salt Lake.”

Check out our video from the event: https://www.youtube.com/embed/Rm1z2UVIM_M

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