City is working to close the affordable Housing gap

Not every Salt Lake City resident can afford $1,000 per month rent for an one-bedroom apartment.  A 2013 City market study estimated that there is an affordable housing gap of over 8,000 units, with 41 percent of households earning less than $35,000 a year. The affordable housing gap is slowly closing thanks to several new affordable housing projects in the works.

The Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City (RDA) and the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City broke ground today on a new affordable housing project, the 9th East Lofts at Bennion Plaza at 444 S. 900 East.

Affordable housing includes a range of housing options from housing reserved for residents earning 80 percent of the area median income (AMI), about $40,000 for an individual, to transitional housing for homeless residents.

The 9th East Lofts at Bennion Plaza project is part of the 5,000 Doors Initiative, a citywide plan to add 5,000 affordable housing units over the next five years.  The Housing and Neighborhood Development division launched the initiative earlier this year in response the increasing demand for affordable housing.

The mixed-use project will be six-stories with 68 apartment units, 22 of which will be reserved for special needs residents.  At least half of the units will be reserved for residents earning at no more than 60 percent of the AMI (about $30,000 a year for a single person).  The project also includes a commercial space on the ground level, which will face the site’s pedestrian-orientated Bennion Plaza.

“This development’s ideal location between downtown Salt Lake City and the University of Utah, combined with its affordability, makes it both geographically and economically accessible to a wide and diverse group of City residents,” said Mayor Becker.

The project has been years in the making.  The RDA originally purchased the property from Salt Lake City and then conducted environmental remediation and relocated Jordan-Salt Lake canal out from under the building site. The work was necessary to remove the utility easement that would have prohibited construction of a new building on the majority of the land.

Three other large-scale affordable housing projects are under construction in the Ballpark Neighborhood.  On the 1400 South block of 300 West, is the nearly completed, Enclave Apartments.  One hundred percent of the 251 units will be designated for families that make 60 percent of the AMI (about $43,000 for a family of four).

The Ballpark Apartments, under construction on the 1300 South block of West Temple, will be reserved for residents 55 years and older.  The six-story, 62-unit project replaces a vacant lot and will include units reserved for residents with special needs.

Just over four blocks to the south of the Ballpark Apartments is the Taylor Gardens development.  The 112-unit project, on 1800 South block of West Temple will also be reserved for residents 55 years and older.

With the addition of 9th East Lofts development, there are now nearly 500 affordable housing units under construction in the City.   Yet many more developments will be needed to meet the City’s goal.  The four projects under construction fulfill just under 10 percent of the 5,000-unit goal over the next five years.

Rendering of Ball Park Apartments.
Rendering of the Ball Park Apartments.

Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at