Lee’s Market is set to reopen in Salt Lake City. Here’s how version 2.0 will be different.

The grocery store on 400 West, which closed in November 2022, is scheduled to reopen in April.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Lee's Market on the corner of 300 North and 400 West in Salt Lake City — seen here when it opened in February 2020 — is reopening after being closed more than a year. A soft opening is planned for April 11, 2024, with a grand opening sometime in May 2024.

A grocery store is returning to Salt Lake City’s Marmalade neighborhood — with a few changes — about a year and half after it closed due to COVID-19 and other problems.

Lee’s Market will have a soft reopening in its previous spot at 255 N. 400 West, starting April 11, with a grand opening in May, Lee’s Marketplace president and CEO Jonathan Badger confirmed Tuesday.

The new store will focus more on “convenience items,” such as grab-and-go salads, sushi, rotisserie chickens and deli sandwiches, as well as reheatable meals for up to four people. “We have a couple of years of data that show what did sell and didn’t sell,” Badger said.

The store will also feature produce, meat, bakery and frozen sections as well as a cheese counter, plus a selection of canned and dry goods, beer, toiletries and over-the-counter medicines. The coffee bar with a barista, however, is out, to be replaced with a self-serve coffee station near the fountain drinks.

Parking will be simplified as well. Badger said Lee’s Market has worked with the 4th West apartment complex to allow customers to use its underground parking “more consistently.” The parking garage can be accessed from the south side of the store, and improved signage will direct shoppers where to park. Lee’s is working with the city, Badger said, to improve parking out front along 400 West, and along the north side of the store on 300 North.

Lee’s Market first opened at the Marmalade location in February 2020, just weeks before Salt Lake City went into lockdown due to the pandemic.

“Coming back out of COVID was something more challenging than we thought it was going to be in the downtown area,” Badger said. He also said that despite the store being surrounded by apartments, and even with TRAX and FrontRunner stations nearby, there just weren’t enough people coming in to shop.

The market shut down in November 2022, less than three years after it opened. Badger said it was always the hope that the company someday would be able to reopen the store — the staff even left all their equipment inside.

This time around, there are several hundred more apartments built or being built near the store, Badger said, as well as a pedestrian bridge over the train tracks that links the east and west sides of the city. “Downtown is booming again,” he said. “It’s growing in a lot of different ways.”

The Camber development, just north of Lee’s Market off 300 North, has 422 apartments that are now being pre-leased for May move-ins. Almost 30 new townhomes are already occupied.

“Having Lee’s Market just adds an additional neighborhood amenity for our residents to enjoy,” said Kacie Jones, senior community manager for Camber.

Jared Cole, the property manager of the Citizens West mixed-use community just across the train tracks from Lee’s, said more buildings will be added to the development’s 80 existing apartments this year.

Cole said many Citizens West residents loved to shop at Lee’s Market for groceries because it was within walking distance.

“It was a big topic of conversation for a few months after the doors closed,” he told The Tribune via email. “... I know our residents, and the community in the immediate area, will appreciate having access restored to the 400 West Lee’s Market.”

With the area not having any other grocery stores in close proximity, Badger said, “we recognize that the need is there. … We want to have a full grocery shopping experience, where you can get pretty much anything you need. If not, we can order it and have it the next day or whatever the case may be.”

Chris Wharton, who represents Salt Lake City’s Council District 3, told The Tribune via email that Lee’s Market reopening is a “game-changer” in terms of access to fresh food for the neighborhoods of West Capitol Hill, Marmalade and Guadalupe, as those areas are “notorious” food deserts.

“As a resident of Marmalade and a representative for the area, I’m thrilled, and I know my neighbors will be as well,” Wharton said.