When I was in my late teens/early twenties, my favorite street to drive down was 9th East. If I was in the area, even if it was not the quickest way, I would drive down this long, tree-lined street. I loved the bungalows, I loved the yards. I loved the mixture of houses and small businesses. If I could buy a house anywhere in Utah, I would want to live on 9th East. In particular the section of 9th East that stretches from 33rd South to 9th South -- the part that forms the western boundary of the Salt Lake neighborhood known as Sugar House.
Sugar House is one of the funkiest neighborhoods in Salt Lake. It's full of college students, old hipsters, artists, queers, university professors, lefty radicals, and dog lovers. It's a large neighborhood with several parks and a wide economic demographic. There are three main commercial areas -- 9th&9th, 15th&15th and Granite Block on Highland Dr. and 21st south. The further north and east in Sugar House you go, the more expensive the properties, so the 9th&9th and 15th&15th areas have been transformed in recent years to yuppie, dinkie versions of their former indie glory. They're still interesting, but they've lost their edge. Now Granite Block, on the other hand, Granite Block is the heart of what had been Sugar House's central commercial district. It's full of quaint buildings mixed with slightly-neglected mid-twentieth century storefronts that house some of the most independent stores in the state. I've taken many pictures of Granite Block trying to capture it's essence, the feeling of transcendence you get from the area. If you didn't know better, you would think that you'd been wisked off to San Francisco. The shops are so funky, the people so original, and it's the ONLY place in Salt Lake that is vibrant with pedestrians.
Kristin and I were thrilled when we were able to buy a house within walking distance of Old Sugar House and Granite Block. And we bought just off 9th East fulfilling that old wish of mine. We consider ourselves to be in the perfect location. And we bought our house cheap. It's in the far south west corner of Sugar House, almost in the neighborhood known as Brickyard. In fact, we can walk to the Brickyard commercial disctrict as easily as we can walk to Sugar House's -- except Brickyard isn't pedestrian-friendly, so we don't. Anyway, because of our location, we bought a Sugar House property for a Brickyard price (Brickyard isn't NEARLY as popular and expensive as Sugar House). But that has changed in the last year or so. The value of our house has nearly doubled from what we paid. And though on the one hand I am excited about the fact that our primary investment is gaining value, I am also worried about what the rising property values would mean to our community, particularly the commercial disctrict just to the north and east of us.
So, I was both upset and not surprised to read an article last night titled Goodbye, Sugar House.
Crap! And just after we decided to stick around, too. I think I'm going to have to get involved in this.