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5 reasons to grow your company in Salt Lake City

Life, and business, elevated

This booming midsize city might only have a population of around 200,000 people (1.15 million in the greater metropolitan area), but Salt Lake City is ascendant. Its star is rising in almost every factor necessary for a healthy business environment. From businesses in the seedling stages to midsize companies in a period of growth to large enterprises, you won’t find a better city to work. But it’s not just about punching-in and punching-out in Salt Lake City. It’s a city for outdoor enthusiasts, culture vultures, foodies, sports fans, and people who simply want a great place to raise a family. WeWork loves Salt Lake City, and here are five reasons you should grow your business here.

1. SLC is business-friendly

Whether you’ve seen Salt Lake City topping lists of the best cities for young professionals (#1, Forbes), as a center for tech entrepreneurs in competition with Silicon Valley (#1, Entrepreneur), as an emerging cybersecurity hub (#1, Business Facilities), or the best cities for starting a business (#2, Inc.), the list of accolades keeps on growing for this Rocky Mountain city.

Salt Lake City’s expanding market is surprisingly affordable for doing business. Business-friendly tax incentives and a flexible regulatory market give companies the elbow room to scale in ways that might be difficult in other markets. Salt Lake City’s downtown leases are a bargain compared to western tech hubs like Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. Perhaps that’s why tech companies account for almost 67% of the commercial real estate leases in downtown Salt Lake City. 

Not only is the technology industry flourishing here for startups to tech giants, but Salt Lake City is also an overachiever when it comes to branch locations of enterprise-level businesses in a variety of industries. It also over-indexes for midsize companies with 62-93 employees. 

Flexible workspace providers like WeWork are a platform for innovators to grow and are enriching the startup and hypergrowth company ecosystem in downtown SLC.

Dee Brewer – Downtown Salt Lake City Alliance Director

In addition to the business environment, Utah has been at the forefront of investment in infrastructure and education, which bode well for Utah’s continued growth into the next decade and beyond.

2. SLC’s workforce is young, hungry, and expanding 

A young, working-age population enables companies to put down roots or expand their business with confidence. Salt Lake City has one of the youngest populations in the country, with the majority between the ages of 25 and 34. Not only is its’ workforce young, but it is also highly-educated. Based on census data from 2018, almost half of the workforce (45.1%) has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Many companies are moving to Salt Lake City because of the high-quality of its workforce, particularly in tech. But other industries factor highly here such as banking, professional services, educational services, healthcare, and retail.

Increasingly, younger workers want to live and work downtown, with factors such as commute times and proximity to recreation and amenities taking on outsized importance compared to older workers. Downtown Salt Lake City offers good transportation options as well as world-class entertainment, dining, shopping, and nightlife. And when those young workers start to nest and grow roots, CNBC ranks Utah as the best state to raise a family

This incredibly valuable resource is also renewable. Combining the student populations of both Brigham Young (BYU) and Utah Valley (UVU) universities, you get a figure that almost matches the population of Salt Lake City’s central core. That alone is impressive, but when you look to the next decade, more than 57,000 students are expected to enroll in Utah universities

3. SLC has undeniable socio-economic and cultural momentum 

“The city is in ascension socially, economically and physically,” says Brewer. With more than one-hundred stories of office space, residential living, and hotel rooms starting construction this year alone, the city’s footprint is changing. Performing and visual arts are also thriving in downtown Salt Lake City, with forty organizations producing over 80 events each month. “We over-index for artists,” notes Brewer. In fact, there are more artists and creative per capita here than in many larger cities. Still beaming from hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics, Brewer said that the city looks forward to hosting the world again, having beat out Denver for the 2030 Games.

Economically, Salt Lake City sits upon list after list of top-performing cities in the U.S. But, don’t call it a bubble. The city’s economy is remarkably stable, in part due to forward-thinking, business-friendly policies, and in part thanks to homegrown capital investment. Salt Lake City has stewards both internal and external, ensuring that the conditions are right for the city to continue thriving for businesses and the people who live here. 

Even the city’s reputation for lacking in diversity is changing. Diversity is on the rise here. Of the population growth in Utah since 2010, 59% have come from other states, and a huge 41% have come from other countries. It might also surprise you that Utah ranks 2nd in the nation for laws that protect the LGBTQ community.

4. SLC is the place your people want to live 

While Salt Lake City has been known as the “crossroads of the west,” it’s becoming more known as a final destination. At the base of the Wasatch Mountains, close to the red rock deserts and seven national parks within hours of downtown, Salt Lake City is not only naturally beautiful, but it’s affordable. Evaluating a range of factors, SLC is close to 50% less expensive than living in San Francisco, which is probably not surprising if you know anything about how expensive the Bay Area can be. If you want to compare apples to apples, let’s examine another western mountain boomtown, Denver. Salt Lake City still has Denver beat. It’ll cost you 12% less to live in Salt Lake City than in Denver, and the bonus is that you’re not losing the outdoor lifestyle or the preponderance of technology jobs you can expect there. 

Public transportation is plentiful and offers a range of options such as light rail, commuter trains, and bus service. If you’re commuting to downtown, heading to the University of Utah, or doing business in Ogden, Provo, and Lehi, you’ll find a public option that allows you to ditch your wheels. Busses are there to help you get even more out of your leisure time, offering connection to nine ski resorts within an hour of the city. Even if you decide to drive your own car, commutes in Salt Lake City average an impressively short 21 minutes.

Salt Lake City offers a triple scoop of lifestyle, vibrant urban amenities, and oh so nice people

Dee Brewer

Salt Lake City is not only for people looking for a better lifestyle. Organizations are also on the hunt for a higher quality of life. The factors that attract people, generally, will appeal to the talent your business needs to grow. When it comes to talent acquisition in a competitive job market, your location is an extension of your brand and company culture. Your city and neighborhood, right down to the building and finally, your office space, can all serve as an asset in your hiring strategy. Salt Lake City attracts top talent because, as Brewer notes, “Salt Lake City offers a triple scoop of lifestyle, vibrant urban amenities, and oh so nice people.” 

5. You’d be in good company in SLC

For businesses looking to ride the wave in a city with momentum, Salt Lake City is a great choice. WeWork has invested heavily in helping Salt Lake City’s businesses grow and thrive. Xx

In Lehi, our two locations at Innovation Pointe position our members to support the energy and innovation happening in the Silicon Slopes. The tech and startup hub of the region, this area is home to companies including Qualtrics, Domo, Ancestry.com, Chatbooks, Adobe, and more. 

With two locations open in The Gateway, WeWork is turning its focus to downtown Salt Lake City. Gateway is in vibrant transition, with new shops, restaurants, and office space cropping up. Companies like Google also see potential in this downtown neighborhood. Gateway will attract young talent, progressive thinkers, and inject some new blood into this area of downtown, and offer a second Silicon Slopes-type hub for technology companies and medium to enterprise-level businesses from a multitude of industries. 

Brewer says that the Salt Lake City Downtown Alliance is incredibly invested in Gateway, saying “It is in the heart of the metropolitan area and adjacent to the urban amenities that attract and delight top talent. You can see the Utah Jazz play across the street, shop at the Farmers Market a block away, and enjoy more than a dozen music venues within walking distance.”

WeWork has also just announced a new 250 Tower location in Central City, with gorgeous views of the Wasatch Range. This section of downtown is known for shopping, art galleries, happy hour spots, and intimate music venues. 

Every day I meet someone who came through town to ski, visit a friend, or explore the desert or go to college. Twenty years later they have made a life here

Dee Brewer

Bottom line? It’s hard not to fall in love with Salt Lake City. “Salt Lake City is very sticky,” says Brewer. “Every day I meet someone who came through town to ski, visit a friend, or explore the desert or go to college. Twenty years later they have made a life here.” 

Poised to continue its growth well into the next decade and beyond, Salt Lake City is a great city to start, grow, and scale your business. 

We have five locations in the greater Salt Lake City area including two in Lehi, offering flexible workspace solutions to help medium-to-large businesses grow.