Builders working to replace a gas station with six homes in the Avenues


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A former gas station will be replaced by six homes under a project that recently broke ground in the Lower Avenues.

The project will bring six three-bedroom, single-family attached homes to 860 E. 3rd Ave in an infill development in the Lower Avenues.

The project represents both a contrast from a proposal in the Upper Avenues as well as an opportunity to create housing in a part of the city that’s already populated with missing middle housing. 

In some ways the new development is “missing middle.” That style of housing — which has been largely outlawed in Salt Lake City — consists of 2-19-unit residential buildings that are no more than 2.5 stories tall.

The site was rezoned from SR-1A to RMU-35 in 2020. RMU is one of the few zones in the city that feasibly allows for missing middle housing, or the type of new construction that is affordable when compared to similarly sized single-family homes.

In the Lower Avenues proposal, the gradient slopes downward moving west, so the eastern portion of the townhome is closer to two and a half stories tall, matching the highest point of the neighboring single-family home.

The building then tapers taller toward its western boundary as the grade slopes downward, so the building doesn’t crowd out any neighboring properties.

The concept of that type of housing is becoming more popular in recent years because it is a potentially affordable option, at least compared with the primarily single-family existing housing stock it often replaces. 

The Lower Avenues proposal — and specifically the lack of an organized and funded effort against it — shows the difference between the Lower Avenues and its more suburban northern neighbor to the north.

Ivory Homes recently won Planning Commission approval to rezone a piece of land at 675 N. F St. over a years-long campaign from neighbors.

The two proposals have shown there are effectively two Avenues: A Lower Avenues below 7th Ave that’s already full of missing middle and historic housing and an Upper Avenues that will galvanize to fight new housing (or bus routes).

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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.