SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City’s newest office tower will include technology aimed at keeping people safe from the spread of illnesses like COVID-19.

When it’s completed late next year, 95 State at City Creek will be a 25-story, 515,000-square-foot office tower incorporating state-of-the-art enhancements that allows touchless entry from the main door and throughout the property, reducing traditional touch points thereby creating a safer and healthier workplace experience for tenants and visitors.

“We’ve tried to resolve some issues that we think tenants are going to have in the current environment, while also looking forward as many years as possible to also provide an environment that will be safe and healthy for the long term,” said Matt Baldwin, director of Real Estate Development for City Creek Reserve Inc.

“Which would include the current COVID overhang, plus trying to make the tower as safe as possible for perhaps the next thing that comes down the pike.”

The project is being developed by City Creek Reserve Inc., with architect Skidmore Owings & Merrill Inc. as the designer and Okland Construction as the builder. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2021 and is expected to be Utah’s first WELL building — a standard focusing on human health and wellness — designed to achieve high energy efficiency and wired technology standards, a news releases states.

Baldwin said 95 State at City Creek will contain workplace features such as a destination elevator system to transport employees directly to their desired floor location without the need to press any buttons, as well as touchless turnstiles to guide visitors one way toward security kiosks, where they will digitally sign in. Common areas such as restrooms will also be mostly touchless, including doorways, he said.

He noted the fifth floor will include an outdoor garden terrace with 7,000 square feet of landscaping, creating a “pocket park in the sky.” The terrace provides tenants and guests with a peaceful venue that can serve as an outdoor meeting space and is large enough to host special events, he added. The fifth floor will also house a fitness facility with lockers and showers.

Among the other unique design elements will be a lobby entrance featuring a large video wall, along with floor-to-ceiling exterior glass, minimal columns and curved glass corners, the release states.

95 State has been a part of the City Creek master plan since its inception and began to take shape following the erection of the 111 Main building a few years ago, Baldwin said.

“After completing 111 Main, there still wasn’t really an office tower that was going to meet tenant demand downtown that we felt that was going to get built, so we felt like we’d step forward and build 95 State,” he said. “95 State is an office building, plus a six-unit meeting house, plus complete rehab of the tunnel that goes under State Street that connects 95 State to City Creek Center.”

95 State is an office building, plus a six-unit meeting house, plus complete rehab of the tunnel that goes under State Street that connects 95 State to City Creek Center.

Matt Baldwin, director of Real Estate Development for City Creek Reserve Inc.

The new project also includes a new solar lid on the top of the Harmons grocery store garage that will help power the common areas inside 95 State. “It’s over 100,000 square feet bigger than 111, plus it’s got a number of other components that 111 didn’t have,” he said.

“We felt like we had a chance to design an office building that met the current standards which really requires a level of amenity that hasn’t been seen in town like this one,” Baldwin said.

The project broke ground in February of last year during a stronger economic time prior to the pandemic, which has put a serious strain on the local and national economies.

Despite the concerns, he said the company is cautiously optimistic about the long-term viability of the project.

“You’re always worried until (things) gets stabilized. We’re a little bit more worried given this current environment because any employer in their right mind is going to step back and consider space needs more carefully in this environment than they ever have,” Baldwin said. “We’re finding that to be true. Long term, we were confident that this building will be a complete financial success. It might just take us a little longer to get there than we had hoped initially.”

Looking ahead to a post-COVID-19 environment when employers and employees begin to return to a more normal work circumstance, Baldwin noted that in the short term, it may take a little time before companies fully embrace going back to a traditional workplace setting. But he expects that will happen in time.

“It’s not so much of a worry long-term because more and more, what we’re hearing and we’re experiencing in our own company (is) remote work works some of the time,” he explained. “Perhaps going forward, we may see some kind of a hybrid. But I think it’s safe to say that company culture really takes a beating in remote work, innovation takes a beating in remote work, mentoring new staff takes a beating in remote work.

“It worked pretty well for the first few months, but we’re hearing businesses begin to really feel like they’re suffering on those fronts and are anxious to develop safe ways to get employees back together. And I think that will happen.”

Jasen Lee | KSL.com