COVID-19: The Recovery will Happen in Public Space

Public Sector, Private Stakeholders Benefit from Salt Lake's Gallivan Utah Center

Dec 31, 2008
Dec 14, 2017

John W. Gallivan Utah Center is a four-acre public plaza created when Block 57, a ten-acre area in downtown Salt Lake City, was converted by the city's Redevelopment Agency (RDA). The block also includes the historic Brooks Arcade; the American Store Tower office building; two parking garages with 2500 spaces total; a 350-room Marriott Hotel; and Gallivan Avenue, a pedestrian-oriented street lined with five retail and restaurant spaces. One Utah Center, a 425,000 square-foot office building, is located on the northwest corner of the block.

Gallivan Utah Center opened in June 1993; it is furnished with an amphitheater, ice rink, pond, huge outdoor chessboard, aviary, and much public art. There is a light rail stop just across the street from the Center. Validations for the parking garage are available.

Owned by: The Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City (RDA).

Managed by: The Board of Trustees approves the annual budget and any major changes to the site. The Gallivan Utah Center has 12 full-time employees, including four for maintenance, four for programming, one administrative assistant, one receptionist, the Facilities and Event Manager, and a Facility Rental Supervisor.

Management Program

RDA contracts with the Public Services Department of Salt Lake City to maintain and program Block 57's public spaces. According to the management contract, all programming must break even, and the City must hold a minimum of 300 events on the site each year.

Maintenance:The Public Services Department has four people specifically assigned to the site for maintenance of the public areas, plus two additional seasonal staff.

Security and hospitality: There is one private, uniformed, and armed security guard on the site 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Guards are very familiar with the area and are trained to provide visitor information as needed.

Programming: A variety of unique art projects are on permanent display at the Center. Many of the stationary objects, which were built as an integral part of the Plaza, help portray the Plaza's natural Utah theme. The Plaza hosts private and public events, including weddings, corporate workshops and concerts; annual events, such as the Fishing Fest for kids in October, the Lunch Bunch entertainment on weekdays during the summer, and Gallivan Center's Brewers' Festival; and occasionally serves as a backdrop for movie sets. There are no regular, informal vendors on the site.

Marketing and promotion: The Public Services Department staff is responsible for advertising events at Block 57.


The site has several changes in elevation that present a challenge for programming. In addition, there are one or two buildings whose locations on the site impede the flow of pedestrian circulation. Every year, concert-goers wear out the small lawn in front of the stage; although it is a sign of a well-used area, it does mean an ongoing task and cost to maintain the space.


The RDA has created an association of property owners at Block 57 (i.e.: Albertson's, Brooks Arcade, and the Marriott); this association contributes to a fund that pays for security, maintenance, and programming on the site. Contributions are based on the square footage of each parcel. Salaries for programming staff come from a programming assessment of $1.50 sq. ft. on the retailers who are direct beneficiaries of the activities, and from the net proceeds from leases. Tenant spaces are leased at an average rate of $16 sq. ft. gross.

The total income from the facility is $1 million, of which the programming produces about $400,000. Programming staff are paid for from assessments and leases, and events are paid for from rentals and fees from users. The current protocol is for sponsors to pay for their event, while the Public Services Department staff arrange all the details.

Capital investment: The Owners' Association has set aside funds to pay for capital repairs. Since the site is relatively new, there has not been a need to utilize them.


Gallivan Utah Center shows how an enterprising public sector can create and manage a public space, making it pay its way by engaging private stakeholders that benefit from it and utilizing the economic advantage of its location.


Gallivan Utah Center 239 S. Main Street Salt Lake City, Utah 84111 (801) 532-0459

Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City Valda Tarbet Senior Project Manager 451 South State Street, Room 418 Salt Lake City, UT 84111 phone:(801)-535-7240 Fax: (801)-535-7245

City of Salt Lake Facility and Event Manager Public Services Department (801) 532-0459

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