New female-focused mixed use development coming to State Street

Sep 13, 2022, 6:37 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — There’s a new development coming to Salt Lake City aimed at helping female and minority entrepreneurs.

The Maven District, a block of businesses built to strengthen and complement each other, is expanding. The team is working on renovating neglected buildings near 1800 S. State St.

“The background behind the Maven District is simple — we were wondering, as a business owner, which I’ve been for many years, we were wondering, if we put likeminded business close to each other, could we share not only clients but resources and community?” founder Tessa Arneson said.

Maven started as a fitness studio and grew into a pocket of businesses that sit in one spot.

“My hairdresser happens to be in, my eyebrow person is in, my doctor is in, my PT is in, there’s also a therapist group,” Arneson said.

One-hundred percent of the business owners are from Utah; 75% of them are women.

“We are looked at as a riskier business to lend money to,” Arneson said. “I don’t love that assumption. I am not riskier because I’m a female. In fact, it’s known that women-owned businesses often perform better than male owned businesses, not that it’s a competition.”

She said they’ve been able to achieve their goals at the current location — 177 E. 900 South.

“Some of our offices start at $500 a month. Some of our retail spaces are also very small, but what that allows founders or future founders to do is they get to dip their toe in,” Arneson said.

They’re taking their brand to State Street.

“I’ve lived here almost my entire life, and it’s always been a tough street, a hard area to do business on,” Arneson said.

Her team’s idea is to put businesses around a courtyard, facing each other.

“Can we put businesses in there that, while they may be similar, they don’t view each other as competition, and they instead work to strengthen each other?” she said.

It will be a mixed-use development that includes housing.

“There’s about 150 units if the zoning goes in our direction,” Arneson said. “We really want to make sure there’s a portion available that’s affordable.”

They want to bring in more LGBTQ+ community members and people of color.

“Founders that historically have a harder time getting access to capital, access to resources, and different levels of support,” Arneson said.

Maven has asked the city for a rezone.

Arneson said the project is likely three years out; she anticipates a 2025 completion date.

The women behind the brand are intent on reinventing the block of neglected buildings.

“We ask the neighborhood, ‘What do you want to see? What do you need? What needs to exist here?’ We never do great when we tell people what we need,” Arneson said.

The Maven District hosts a market on Saturday, Sept. 24. They invite their current neighbors and those in the Liberty Wells neighborhood to come and share their ideas and thoughts about the expansion then.

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New female-focused mixed use development coming to State Street