Another parking-heavy residential building in store for the Hardware District

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Builders continue to fill the Hardware District with single-use buildings and copious parking in what continues to be a case study of a master planned area that just doesn’t quite feel like a neighborhood.

The area between North Temple and 400 North, 400 West and the FrontRunner line is one of the station’s premier regional rail and bus destinations. It has been filling up with primarily single-use residential buildings that have more than 1 to 1 parking ratios.

That trend will largely continue with the latest addition, which will bring 343 homes and 784 parking stalls immediately west of the historic Hardware Building.

While the next building on the way — one of five substantial housing developments that are transforming this part of town — will include space for a coffee shop, it’s hard not to think it is developing as a place rich in amenities for people who rent here and devoid of any real reason for outsiders to visit.

There are basketball courts, rooftop pools, gyms, spas, a dog park, putting greens, billiards and shuffleboard. It’s all private. Much of the street parking is permitted for residents in the well-made new buildings, which largely include copious structured parking, as well.

The next building, which will replace a surface parking lot immediately adjacent the FrontRunner station, will reserve 422 stalls for employees within the Hardware Office Building. Another 362 stalls will be for residents in the new building at 152 N. 500 W.

This residential building is a departure from past plans put forward by SALT Development, which is responsible for much of the action in the area.

In 2016, SALT Development proposed an office building on the site, rather than residential. The developer has also apparently moved on from its original intent to provide a large outdoor plaza and terraced amphitheater, instead maximizing its footprint on the parcel without space for the public or thousands of residents now living here.

The project manager overseeing the new building, called Hardware Village II, didn’t respond to a request for comment on the design details for the eight-story building.

The four levels of parking will include 320,828 square feet reserved for parking cars. 278,615 square feet will be for the homes themselves. Another 48,000 square feet will include amenities for residents, like a pool, courtyards and unspecified amenity space.

The development will also include nine townhomes as well as a coffee shop, facing Hardware Avenue and 490 West.

“Five stories of residential units and amenity will be located above the parking structure. Amenity spaces will include fitness, clubroom/game, shared work, outdoor pool courtyard, inner courtyard, dog run courtyard, and rooftop lounge/deck,” the developers wrote in a transit station area application with the city this week.

Units will have an average square footage of 831.

Project details

  • Studio: 56
  • One-bedroom: 169
  • Two-bedroom: 118

Development details 

  • Owner: Cherry Tree Capital
  • Architect: Dwell Design Studio
  • Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing: Jordan & Skala Engineers 
  • Structural Engineer: Dunn Associates
  • Interior Design: Banko Design

The developers believe they’ve met enough requirements to avoid a trip to the Planning Commission and instead get going after a quicker staff review. 

What’s in it for the public?

We’ve written about the development pattern in the area, which is west of Downtown and southwest of the Marmalade and Capitol Hill neighborhoods. The buildings have transformed the look and feel of a once underutilized area.

Home to some of the highest-end rental apartments in Salt Lake City, the Hardware District has taken shape rather quickly. 

And yet while once-vacant land and warehouses have made way for hundreds of homes, a walk around the area makes it feel more like a place to pass through than one for outsiders to visit.

Numerous people who live or have lived in one of the new buildings tell us different versions of the same thing: “They’re amazing. You never have to leave.”

You get what you pay for, and the city gets what it zones for.

So there are no public pocket parks, few benches, no attempt at orientation with the fixed-rail and bus transit just to the west, nearly no shops to visit, virtually nowhere to sit down.

It is possible that current private space is converted into retail in the future. A lobby on the northeast corner of the 4th West building is now a full-service grocery store that’s popular with tenants in the Hardware buildings as well as some in the Marmalade neighborhood to the north.

Perhaps the faux public spaces — including largely vacant lobbies, the dog park and a fake bar called the HardTimes Bar — will revert to true public use at some point.

Until then, it seems developers may be taking the verbatim zoning language to heart. TSA-UC zoning explicitly calls for high-densities and uses that don’t compete with Downtown.

“An urban center station contains the highest relative intensity level and mix of uses,” according to the zone. “The type of station area is meant to support Downtown Salt Lake and not compete with it in terms of building scale and use.”

Could that be what’s prevented a flurry of mixed-use development adjacent to regional and local transit options and in what the website Walkscore has deemed a biker’s paradise?

We’ll keep watching to see if a future project injects street life into the area and perhaps tie it into the adjacent neighborhoods, or whether the buildings will continue to provide cities within cities (but only for those who can afford the rent). It may be a long wait.

Email Taylor Anderson

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Posted by Taylor Anderson

Taylor Anderson grew up near Chicago and made his way West to study journalism at the University of Montana. He's been a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune, Bend Bulletin and Salt Lake Tribune. A move from Portland, Oregon, to Salt Lake City opened his eyes to the importance of good urban design for building strong neighborhoods. He lives on the border of the Liberty Wells and Ballpark neighborhoods.