From hookers to headlines to hip, Salt Lake City's Regent Street by SHOKO SMITH

A once-notorious Salt Lake City back street appears destined for some artistic respectability.

Right next to construction of the new performing-arts center on Main Street, the city is launching a $12.8 million face-lift for Regent Street, Orpheum Avenue and a disused service alley off Main to be dubbed Regent Walk.

If the plans come true, the renovation will transform what was once called Commercial Street — home to the city's red-light district, complete with brothels, taprooms, gambling halls and later, several newspapers — into the nexus of an emerging downtown arts district.

The project is meant as an appealing complement to the $110 million, 2,500-seat George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater, under construction at 135 S. Main St., while adding an inviting and walkable north-south corridor between the Gallivan Center and City Creek Center.