Utah boasts of a robust and flourishing economy that today attracts and fosters entrepreneurs. This influx in business continues to feed the commercial real estate industry, which brings with it its opportunities and challenges.
Entrepreneurs and their new business ideas are finding new homes across Utah. Its capital, Salt Lake City, has recently been named one of the best cities for serial entrepreneurs by SmallBizTrends.com. The state itself has been named as the best performing state for entrepreneurial growth by the U.S. chamber of commerce for the second year in a row. The business-friendly atmosphere fostered by the city is complemented by the state government’s balanced approach to business policies and its extensive investments in education.
This has created an ecosystem that’s attracting enterprise and investment from across the nation, and the state’s booming economy is performing well enough to turn heads.
Commercial areas in the South and West of the country are bucking the trend of the so-called retail apocalypse. Despite its robust e-commerce sector, Salt Lake City joins the likes of Dallas, San Francisco, and the critical darling Austin in leading the charge in the reversal of brick-and-mortar retail fortunes on a regional level. In these places, commercial real estate development and commercial property management can expect to expand and flourish as the retail industry remains stalwart in the coming years.
Fuel to the Fire
Retail enterprises aren’t the only businesses flocking to the urban centers in Utah. Tech companies and startups are looking toward the Beehive State, and new office developments are quickly sprouting up in Salt Lake City, Provo, and other cities that form the Silicon Slopes. A robust real estate industry focused on commercial offerings across the state has sprung up to serve this growing demand for business space.
Redevelopment is a common sight in many districts in Salt Lake City as the challenges of demand in urban areas encourage developers to build up. A stunning skyline of skyscrapers can be expected to grow in many of Utah’s cities. In addition, new construction is also taking place in the suburbs, bringing new jobs to various communities all across the state. Although initially attracted by the possibility of greater areas for parking space, more modern suburban office developments are also experimenting with efficient tenant-use systems as an alternative to staggered parking.
The Road Ahead
Continued commercial and business growth in regions such as the greater Salt Lake City area brings with it a set of challenges. Expansion is limited by the topography of Utah’s major cities, constricted as they are by hills, mountains, and lakes. Currently, solutions include further redevelopment, which will encourage high-volume development in urban centers.
Infrastructure expansion is also lagging behind development, creating added pressure on the transportation systems of Salt Lake City. Companies have already taken some lead through rethinking development and implementing shuttle systems to reduce pressure on local transportation. These methods must go hand-in-hand with further infrastructure development.
The Utahan talent pool is very employable, which also means that there aren’t always enough willing hands to go around. Growth in both the commercial and industrial sectors, however, have also not grown lock-step with the labor pool in the state. With an unemployment rate holding steady at 3%, Utah may not have enough workers to fill all jobs.
To truly leverage the benefits of the growth in economic opportunities, government agencies and business groups alike must collaborate to achieve planned and sustainable growth goals. Enterprise expansion should coincide with new transportation infrastructure development. Balanced development is also needed to ensure that the influx of new jobs also coincide with adequate housing for people working in these new enterprises.