Find out exactly what the Department of Economic Development does in this week’s Ask the Authority

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah(News4Utah) The Department of Economic Development(DED) is about to celebrate their 2-year anniversary. Many people aren’t sure exactly what the department does, and how it is impacting Salt Lake City. Lara Fritts, Director of Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development, joined Emily Clark, to answer these questions in this week’s Ask the Authority segment.

Fritts says their team has grown tremendously over the past 18-months. She is happy to say that their business development division is fully staffed.

Some things the DED does includes, focusing on business recruitment and retention, local business and entrepreneurship, marketing and communications, workforce development and also coordinators
to support those roles.

Over the past 18 months, Fritts says their numbers have been staggering:

  • Nearly $800-million in investment
  • Almost 9,000 jobs

She says another main focus is to attract and retain businesses that fit with the City’s overall vision, including:

  • Leader in environmental sustainability
  • Building a city for everyone
  • Increasing wages

The city has a number of financial tools that help businesses of all sizes. These include:

  • EDLF
  • RDA loan program
  • RDA tax increment reimbursement
  • Foreign Trade Zone #30

An issue that has come up in the most recent legislative session includes that of what to do with the Northwest Quadrant of Salt Lake City. The DED has been heavily involved with what happens to this 24-thousand acres of land for the last 2 years. Fritts says the Northwest Quadrant is a generational economic development opportunity for the capital city
and state. No other U.S. city has nearly 150-million square feet of developable land in such a strategically located area.

The City, along with collaboration of numerous individuals, public, private, and non-profit
partners, has done an incredible amount of work on the Northwest Quadrant, which include:

  • Adopting a land use master plan
  • Enacted numerous zoning amendments
  • Established a public utilities basis for design
  • Drafted an economic development visioning report and strategic plan
  • Adopted a Northwest Quadrant Community Reinvestment Area plan to enable the use of tax increment financing

The Northwest Quadrant may also be selected as a site for an inland port.

Salt Lake City is also hosting a number of large conferences and conventions next year that put the
city on the national and international stage. The City is a partner with EDCUtah to host the Site Selectors Guild Convention. this means the top site selectors who do some of the largest deals will be in Salt Lake City to see what we have offer. The City is also hosting the IEDC Future Forum, with economic developers and industry people from across the country here to see the innovation happening here. 

For more information on the Department of Economic Development and its impact on Salt Lake City, visit

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