Ballpark attracts more ‘missing middle’ owner-occupied housing with new row homes

Salt Lake City’s Ballpark neighborhood continues attracting owner-occupied housing with a new row home style project proposed along Main Street.

The Poet’s Row townhomes would bring an East Coast, single-family attached housing style to Ballpark, at 1448 S. Main St.

They would continue the buildout of relatively rare condos in the capital city, an elusive type of housing that’s more likely to be found in Ballpark than just about anywhere else in town thanks to projects like Poet’s Row.

“This project brings a different single family unit type to the area,” representatives from Mint Architecture wrote in the design review application, “along with an Architecture design to enhance the community along this stretch of Main Street.”

Poet’s Row would add 32 new units just over a mile outside Downtown. It would have a brick facade with some stucco. Fourteen units would front Main Street and another 18 would face west at Merrimac and Main.

The project would have two off-street parking spaces per new unit, 64 in all.

Poet’s Row in Ballpark would add 32 new townhomes at 1448 S. Main St., in Salt Lake City’s Ballpark neighborhood. 14 units would front Main and another 18 would face west. Rendering by Mint Architecture.

More housing in Ballpark

The Poet’s Row won’t help the immediate and ongoing rush for housing of all types in Salt Lake City. Construction wouldn’t likely begin until the fall at the earliest after the project makes its way through the approval process with the city.

But if and when the rowhouses replace the used car lot and dog training business, it would be the latest addition of the sought-after single-family attached housing that’s been added in the neighborhood in recent years.

As we’ve written over the past two years, developers have found a welcome home in Ballpark, which runs from 700 South to 2100 South, State Street to I-15. The neighborhood has likely attracted more new owner-occupied condo projects than anywhere else in the city in recent years. 

Developers have found outdated zoning to be an easy place to quickly build their projects.

Poet’s Row is kitty corner to 15 Main, at Kensington Avenue, which added 20 townhomes in 2019. Nearby, CW Urban finished 36 townhomes at 1700 S. Major, and 23 more at 1700 S. West Temple. It is underway with 13 more at 1739 S. Main. Urban Alfandre recently finished a 32-unit townhome at 1700 S. Main St.

Nearby, Paul Svendsen had planned to build an owner-occupied fourplex with a unique design on 1700 South Major Street. But that has changed due to high construction costs, he said. So it has drastically changed but apparently doesn’t require city approval before it’s built.

Svendsen’s group recently applied for a permit to build 22 micro apartments on the 0.10-acre lot once home to a recently demolished single-family house.

Rendering of the Richard Street Condos looking east from the intersection of Richard Street and 1700 South as designed by Blalock and Partners. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.

Changes coming?

Poet’s Row is unique in that it is going through the design review process.

The city is interested in changing the car-oriented and outdated Commercial Corridor (CC) zoning that is abundant in Ballpark and the State Street corridor. But it also has an apparent lack of staff time or resources to undertake a city-sanctioned master plan that looks at rezoning the area.

Central 9th, is part of Ballpark but distinct and separate as a neighborhood, has attracted similar buildings but under Form-Based Urban Neighborhood (FB-UN) zoning that has guided a transit-oriented and walkable urban neighborhood with fewer parking requirements.

CC zoning comes with copious minimum off-street parking requirements that over time led to surface parking lots, car-oriented businesses and generally less vibrancy than areas with more modern zoning.

A consultant is underway with a small area study of part of the neighborhood to see what types of changes residents want in Ballpark. 

They have already pointed out what the city knows: several nuisance businesses are allowing open air drug dealing and drug use. This same area — near 1300 S. State Street — has also become a hot spot for violent crime.

It is yet to be seen whether the added density and influx of residents brings eyes to the street and notable safety improvements to Ballpark. Regardless, not long after these projects are finished, they’re full.

Read the full Poet’s Row plan for yourself.

Interested in seeing where developers are proposing and building new apartments in Salt Lake, or just want to support a local source of news on what’s happening in your neighborhood? Learn more about becoming a member.

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.