3 residential projects in west Gateway + Depot District continue Downtown building boom

Three modestly-sized residential developments in west Downtown – one under construction, one just approved, and another in preliminary stages – may portend the next wave of multi-family construction in this transitioning area.

With the imminent shuttering of the Road Home emergency shelter at 200 S. Rio Grande (450 West) and recent mega-developments along the park blocks on 500 West (Liberty Gateway and Alta Gateway), the neighborhood’s stigma seems ready to dissipate.

On the 100 South block of 600 West, the Casa Milagros Senior Living project at Centro Civico Mexicano is looking ready to be framed.

Casa Milagros Senior Housing project under construction, center left. Centro Civico Mexicano, center right. Alta Gateway apartments, center, in grey and white. Photo by Luke Garrott.

Up the street at 45 South 600 West, CW Urban received approval by the Planning Commission this month to move forward on a 48-unit, market-rate condominium project named The Beverly.

Four buildings, each four stories, will barely reach the minimum height required by Gateway-Mixed Use zoning (45 feet). Like all proposed projects in this zone, the developer had to submit to a Conditional Building Site Design Review process.

CW Urban’s 45 units will have access to 31 surface parking stalls, located in the middle of the four-building project. The developers are also petitioning the transportation and engineering departments for eight parking spots cut into the public park strip in front of the building. 45 degree parking is currently the norm on this stretch of underdeveloped 600 West.

Future site of The Beverly at 45 South 600 West, to replace the three beige-colored buildings lower center. Liberty Gateway Apartments left center (white). Photo by Luke Garrott.

The city will require the builders to include public art and a mid-block walkway along the eastern edge of their property. Benches will be placed at the south end of the walkway as it terminates at 100 South, immediately east of Futsal 801. The north end of the walkway will terminate in Gateway’s western surface parking lot fence.

Depot District starting to take off…At what cost?

Preliminary documents for a mixed-income, affordable housing development on a historical street frontage at the Old Greek Town Trax station have been submitted to the city.

Central Station, by Gardner Batt and Architecture Belgique, is planned as a 65-unit, six-story mixed-income building on the site of Thomas Electric Company at 549 West 200 South. While they work with planners, the developers are in line at HAND in Salt Lake City for affordable housing funding.

Central Station mixed-income residential site, at Thomas Electric Co., center (beige). Hong Kong Tea House is visible lower right. To the left is Artspace Bridge (green and red), with Artspace City Center and Macaroni Flats, center-left. SLC RDA owns the vacant lots, center-right, branded Station Center. Photo by Luke Garrott.

Sources tell Building Salt Lake that the project was rejected by the Olene Walker housing fund due to the planned demolition of a historical building. The street is part of the recently-created Warehouse National Historical District.

The designation allows owners to access federal tax credits for preservation and rehabilitation, but doesn’t prevent demolitions of contributing structures, as do the stronger Local historic districts.

Two of the three Artspace projects on the block (Artspace City Center and Macaroni Flats) have taken advantage of the national designation to transition warehouse buildings to living- and commercial spaces.

The historic, 2-story architecture of the “Old Greektown” neighborhood is one of the last pedestrian-scaled environments in Downtown. Yet across the street from Thomas Electric, a number of historic storefronts and warehouses sit vacant. Bringing new residents to the neighborhood is sorely needed.

Some of the historic, vacant storefronts on the north side of 200 South. Photo by Luke Garrott.

The Central Station proposal qualifies for low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC), but has yet to receive them. As currently proposed, Central Station will provide 52 affordable units and 13 market-rate, details of which are yet to be determined. Gardiner Batt envisions a wide range of sizes, from studios to four-bedroom units.

The project will supply 34 parking stalls at ground level in its concrete podium, hidden from the street by common rooms for tenants and their leasing office. According to documents submitted to SLC Planning, the developers are committed to achieving both Enterprise Green Building Certification and an Energy Star rating.

Preliminary rendering of the Central Station mixed-income project in the Depot District. Image courtesy Architecture Belgique.

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Posted by Luke Garrott

Luke Garrott, PhD, has published in The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, and written features for the Salt Lake City Weekly City Guide and The West View. A former two-term councilman in Salt Lake City's District 4, he lives in Downtown Salt Lake City and grew up in the Chicago area.