Utah State Capitol: Our Home, Part 7

The seat of government of the state of mountains, the Utah State Capitol sits high above the city. Photo credit/copyright: Desert Survivor
The seat of government of the state of mountains, the Utah State Capitol sits high above the city. Photo credit/copyright: Desert Survivor

Just over 100 years ago, and 20 years after gaining statehood, Utah gained a completed structure which would further symbolize that completion: a state capitol building. Perched on a hill just above the downtown core at the northern end of State Street, the Capitol is an iconic part of the Salt Lake City skyline, and it’s one of the reasons why we love our home.

While the original structure has grown to include additional new buildings which make up the Capitol Complex, the original building is what most people see when they look across the Wasatch Front skyline or fly into Salt Lake City. At nearly 300 feet tall at its highest point, the neoclassical revival structure is a grand facility without being overwrought.

The tourist entrance to the Capitol is to scale all of the steps on the south side of the building and enter through the large traditional doors. These lead straight into the main foyer and rotunda of the building. The dome and the ceiling have intricate artwork depicting the Pioneer settlement, coupled with a central halo of lights to light up the area.

The Capitol Rotunda is several stories tall, and the main floor is flanked by two sets of staircases that lead up to the offices and chambers of the members of the Utah Legislature. While some of the configurations have changed, the traditional placements have remained much the same. One of the largest is the relocation of the Utah Supreme Court to the Matheson Courthouse near downtown, so the remaining chambers are no longer in regular use.

One of the most notable rooms in the Capitol is the Gold Room. Most of the building has a relatively spare but still classy feel to it. The Gold Room, though, is opulent from bottom to top. Its sliding doors, big windows, thick drapes, and the extensive use of gold leaf trim. Otherwise known as the state reception room, it is used for visiting dignitaries and other very special occasions, such as presentations of posthumous Purple Heart medals. Fittingly, it is the neighboring room to the Governor’s office.

The Capitol isn’t just the seat of the state government of Utah, however. With its architecture and layout, the building has been used in film and photography repeatedly. It’s a major tourist stop for the companies which come to visit the city. It’s also a highly sought-after destination for high school prom dances and weddings, with the sprawling grounds, fun architecture and detailing, and an amazing view of the Salt Lake valley day or night.

At VIP Limousine, the State Capitol is without question one of our favorite venues for photography and events. It’s an iconic spot where our clients make some of their best memories for life. If you have something special happening up there, be sure to give us a call.

The Gateway in Salt Lake City, Utah: Our Home, Part 6

Integral to the western side of downtown Salt Lake City,  The Gateway has been undergoing revitalization, and is relevant once more.
Integral to the western side of downtown Salt Lake City, The Gateway has been undergoing revitalization, and is relevant once more.

Downtown Salt Lake City has been undergoing a lengthy renaissance of sorts, with City Creek Center and a lot of new businesses and offices being among the most recent phases. However, it could be argued that these changes began prior to the Olympics i8n 2002, and one of the most important parts of this was The Gateway.

A fitting name for a multi-use complex which marks the western side of the downtown core, which most travelers to Salt Lake City see first, The Gateway cleverly integrates older structures into its design. Chief among these is the old Union Pacific Railroad terminal, preserved as an entrance hall along 400 West and anchoring the mall by use of a signature building. The terminal maintains original signage and elements, in keeping with the times, design, and architecture in the surrounding neighborhood.

Since the Olympics were to be a large part of The Gateway in its early years, there are a multitude of elements throughout the complex which speak to the heritage and function of the Games. This includes the Olympic Legacy Plaza, which memorializes the efforts put into the Games. The Gateway also held certain events during the Games.

The Gateway is currently home to a multitude of stores and shops, including a Larry H. Miller Megaplex movie theatre, one of the largest centrally-located movie theatres in Salt Lake City. Each of these is accessible from outdoor walkways, escalators, and elevators. It’s an outdoor mall on purpose, providing exposure to the natural elements across two levels of its structure with lots of natural stone, an outdoor fireplace, and properly-covered portions so that the electrical parts stay dry. Outside of all of the shops and restaurants, the residential portions of The Gateway offer a variety of housing to residents wishing to live in a mixed-use area.

With the myriad of shops and options available, The Gateway has a multi-story underground garage with electric vehicle charging points, parking validation, and clear signage to different parts of the mall. It’s large enough that parking in the right areas in important, since The Gateway stretches across several blocks and there are two sets of parking garage entrances.

In the not-too-distant past, The Gateway has been known for the following: vagrancy, declining and closed businesses, relocations of key stores, broken escalators, a confusing parking garage, a large presence of the homeless and drug users, poor maintenance, and low foot traffic. Nobody has wanted to come here, and online reviews of the facility plummeted. However, this is starting to change.

As it is now under new management, anybody who visits The Gateway is witness to a multitude of changes. Entering the parking garage alone is a completely new experience. Gone are the odd colors and categories, confusing directions, and poor lighting. These have been replaced with clear signage and a bright white scheme. Escalators are being overhauled, elevators are being upgraded, tile floors are being redone and resurfaced, lighting is being updated…it’s all changing. The results are starting to roll in, with The Gateway showing new signs of life and turning around, no longer being just the dying mall on the western side.

In spite of all of the changes and its prior decline, The Gateway remains an important part of downtown Salt Lake City. Easily accessible from TRAX and the freeway and across the street from the Vivint Smart Home Arena, The Gateway is a facility of hope and dreams, showing how business changes are indeed possible.

Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah: Our Home, Part 5

Situated just south of Temple Square, the Maurice Abravanel Hall is home to the Utah Symphony.
Situated just south of Temple Square, the Maurice Abravanel Hall is home to the Utah Symphony.

Our journey across Salt Lake City briefly detours east to a possibly-overlooked landmark. Between City Creek Center and the sprawl of the Salt Palace lies a treasure: Maurice Abravanel Hall.

As the home of the Utah Symphony, Abravanel Hall carries the name of the orchestra’s founder, Maurice Abravanel. The Utah Symphony originally began as the Utah State Symphony Orchestra, and was a community orchestra. When Abravanel came to Utah from Europe (having been born in the Ottoman Empire, raised in Switzerland, and conducted music across multiple countries), he desired to make the orchestra a full-time operation. He would lead the Utah Symphony for 32 years, seeing them become established in their permanent home which now bears his name just after he retired from conducting.

Construction on the facility began in 1976 with Abravanel, Jack Gallivan, and O.C. Tanner overseeing design and construction. The unique design is a brick exterior shell covering a concrete building on the inside. Even with expansions and renovations, the building’s profile has not changed much, a timeless design. Most recently, the facility received updated grounds along South Temple street, greeting visitors with a contemporary design and clear advertisements for their events.

For the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Dale Chihuly, a Washington-based glassblower, commissioned The Olympic Tower, a glass-blown sculpture which is displayed prominently in the entryway. The inside is outfitted with imported crystal chandeliers, light wood, and gold fittings and trim around the stage. It’s the perfect framing and set-up to see and hear the Utah Symphony, currently led by Thierry Fischer.

Now one of the few full-time orchestras in the United States, the Utah Symphony performs year-round in Salt Lake City and up in Park City during the summer season. But when they’re not on tour, recording, or up at the Deer Valley Music Festival, be sure to check them out in Abravanel Hall.

Testimonial Tuesday: Highly Recommended

Facebook Review Kaitlin VanRoosendaal

“I was so impressed by the service that VIP Limousine provided! Greg was not only on time, he was early! He was incredibly courteous, kind and attentive. Thank you for providing such a top notch service! I would highly recommend you to anyone and everyone.”

For this particular customer, we worked with Chick-fil-A Fort Union to serve up the chicken sandwich of limousines, a ride in our Lincoln Town Car. We loved working with them to help with their special night!

Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah: Our Home, Part 4

An overview of the Vivint Smart Home Arena. Photo credit: arenadigest.com
An overview of the Vivint Smart Home Arena. Photo credit: arenadigest.com

As we continue our blog series on Salt Lake City, our focus on the hallmarks of downtown continues to take us westward to another hub for activity: the Vivint Smart Home Arena, better known as the Vivint Arena.

Ask a local Salt Laker, though, and they might still refer to it as the Delta Center, the original namesake of the facility when it was opened in 1991, and had the naming rights from Salt Lake City’s biggest airline, Delta Airlines. The Atlanta-based carrier operates 256 daily departures from SLC to destinations around the world, so it was only fitting that the company have a 20,000 seat arena with their name affixed to the exterior. Images of the Delta Center swirled around the world in the wake of the infamous Salt Lake tornado in 1999, but as with every other facility in the downtown core, it was quickly cleaned up and ready for use.

The Vivint Arena has been home to the following events over its lifetime so far: an NBA All-Star Weekend, NBA Finals, NCAA Tournaments, a round of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and skating events from the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, hosted in Salt Lake City. Other big names have graced the Arena in its use as a concert venue, including Garth Brooks, George Strait, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, U2, Taylor Swift, and The Rolling Stones, with comedy routines by Gabriel Iglesias, Jeff Dunham, and Brian Regan. It has also been home to rodeos, monster truck shows, hockey, and professional wrestling.

Nowadays, though, the Vivint Arena is primarily known for being the home of the Utah Jazz, Salt Lake City’s NBA team. Currently led by Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert, the team of John Stockton and Karl Malone has its origins in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Jazz was started in 1974 as an expansion team, but relocated to Salt Lake City five years later, bringing the name and Mardi Gras colors in tow which continues to tie the franchise back to its founding city.

While the success of the Jazz has ebbed and flowed since their move to Salt Lake City, they have been a continual presence at the Vivint Arena since moving from the Salt Palace Convention Center in 1991. A lot in Salt Lake City revolves around what happens at the arena, too, outside of basketball and concerts.

After the facility was initially constructed, the Utah Transit Authority‘s TRAX light rail system’s first phase consisted of its northern terminus immediately next to the Delta Center. With wide platforms and decoration for the upcoming 2002 Winter Olympics, the Delta Center station served as a major hub for commuters in and out of downtown Salt Lake City. However, when the naming rights to the building were changed from Delta Airlines to the local nuclear waste-disposal company Energy Solutions, not only was there some community backlash, but the UTA changed the name of the station from “Delta Center” to “Arena.” It has stayed this way ever since. While it is no longer a UTA TRAX terminus station, Arena still serves as the primary public transportation access point to the Vivint Arena, Gateway Mall, and Triad Center, as well as a transfer point between the TRAX Blue and Green lines.

As the Vivint Arena begins to undergo major renovations to bring it up to date with comparable facilites around the United States, we at VIP Limousine wanted to take a moment and recognize what the building has done for Salt Lake City. Not only is it a location where we pick up and drop off concert-goers and basketball fans, but it is also a centerpiece to our home. If you ever need a ride in order to avoid the hassle of traffic and parking at Vivint Arena, we are available and at your service.

Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah: Our Home, Part 3

An overview of the eastern side of the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center. Photo credit: acdc-bootlegs.com
An overview of the eastern side of the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center. Photo credit: acdc-bootlegs.com

With a growing population and presence on the world stage, Salt Lake City is becoming home to more and more businesses, people, and major events. Many of these take place in the downtown area, and involve today’s subject: the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Located one block west of Main Street in the heart of downtown, the Salt Palace Convention Center, or the Salt Palace as it is known locally, has massive meeting spaces and exhibit halls as well as private offices. The facility hosts everything from Salt Lake Comic Con, the second largest in the United States, to RootsTech Conventions, from concerts to state political events. It covers 679,000 square feet of space, which can be flexibly tailored to attendee needs. You know there’s an event occurring at the Salt Palace when your lunchtime crowds are larger than usual at City Creek Center and other local restaurants around the downtown core.

The Salt Palace was originally constructed in 1969, but 48 years later it has changed into something else entirely, with new spaces and a complete renovation of the interior and exterior. It is named after Utah’s longest-serving governor in the state’s history, Calvin L. Rampton, an attorney and businessman born and raised in Davis County, just to the north of Salt Lake City.

The Salt Palace is owned governed by Salt Lake County, in addition to several other public venues and meeting spaces. It’s a great space to gather, an excellent addition to the Salt Lake City skyline, and in a very convenient location. We enjoy taking clients to and from the facility on a regular basis, for whatever the occasion.