City reveals five sites for proposed affordable housing developments

With $21 million to spend on affordable housing, the city’s Redevelopment Agency has announced five potential sites for affordable housing projects.  The projects are part of the RDA’s draft housing funding strategy that was created in response to a 2016 council action in which the body acting as the RDA Board of Directors voted reallocated $17 million from other RDA projects as a response to a perceived lack of action from Mayor Jackie Biskupski in addressing the housing crisis.

The city’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Affordable Housing selected the five sites that are scattered across the city and will focus on residents earning at or below 40 percent Area Median Income (AMI).  Four of the five proposes sites will also provide a mix of affordable and market rate units.  RDA staff anticipate that the projects will add a combined 1,077 residential units to the market, 564 of which would be income restricted.

One site identified in the draft plan, The Exchange, has already been previously announced and is already moving forward.  In July, Mayor Biskuskpi’s office announced the selection of Downtown SLC Partners, a joint venture between local developers Giv Development Group and Domain Companies a New York City-based firm, to develop a mixed-use, mixed income project on 2.24 acres on the 300 East block of 400 South.  The Exchange will consist of two buildings, a nine-story and five-story building, with 412 residential units and 20,00 square feet of ground-floor retail.

Under the RDA’s proposed housing strategy, The Exchange could receive up to $1.4 million in affordable housing investment from the agency.  The city is currently going through the planning process to consolidate and rezone the parcels on the site.

The four remaining sites include properties in the city’s west side, the Liberty Wells neighborhood, downtown and Sugar House.

Map of the 1500 West North Temple site. The property is outlined in red. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.
  • 1500 W. North Temple:  RDA staff propose developing a mixed-income housing project on 2.07 acres directly across from the Power Station TRAX station on North Temple.  RDA staff suggest that this site could accommodate up to 300 residential units, about half of which would be income restricted units.  As currently proposed, the project would receive an RDA investment of $4 million to purchase and develop the site.  It would replace a motel known for attracting criminal activity.  If funded, the project would less than a block south of another mixed-income project, the Cornell Street Apartments on the 200 North block of Cornell Street.  That project will include a five-story residential building with 146 units, 131 of which will be reserved for residents earning up to 60 percent AMI.
Map of the 1749 S. State Street site. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.
  • 1749 South State Street: Like the North Temple site, this site would also replace a motel known to attract criminal activity.  City staff anticipates that the 1.28-acre site could accommodate 150 residential units, 60 of which would be income restricted.  This site would require a $4.125 million investment to go to purchasing and developing the property.  The State Street site is the only proposed site not within easy walking distance of a rail station.  The high-frequency 200 bus route runs every 15 minutes on State Street.



Map of the 2234 Highland Drive site. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.
  • 2234 Highland Drive: This site consists of two city-owned parcels.  The city owns the 0.76-acre parcel that houses the Firestation 3, which will relocate to a new station being built on the 2400 south block of 900 East.  The RDA owns the 0.72-acre parcel at the intersection of Sugarmont and Highland.  That property is the former home of a Deseret Industries.  The parcels are in heart of Sugar House and are less than a block from the Fairmont S-Line Station.  City officials hope to release a Request for Proposal (RFP) in the spring and anticipate a 90 unit residential development with 60 income-restricted units.  The site would require a $2 million investment to develop the properties.  Of the site selected, the Sugarmont property is in the area with the highest opportunity index score, meaning residents in the area have more opportunities for social and economic success.
Map of the 525 South 500 West site. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.
  • 525 South 500 West:  This site on 500 West is the only site the city intends to dedicate entirely to affordable housing.  Under the RDA’s draft housing strategy, the 500 West parcel would house 125 permanent supportive housing units, considered an alternative to emergency shelters.  The units would be reserved for residents experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.  City staff anticipate that development of the 0.63-acre parcel would require a $640,000 RDA investment.  The property is three blocks from the Greektown TRAX Station and the Intermodal Transit Hub.

The RDA Board of Directors will need to approve the five proposals before they can move forward.  On Tuesday the board will consider approving a $4 million loan to Western Regional Nonprofit Housing Corporation (WRNHC) to develop the 1500 West North Temple property.

Earlier this month the board approved a bid on the State Street Plaza property on the 200 south block of State Street.  The project went into receivership after the previous developers, the LaPorte Group, lost the property after financial and engineering mishaps.  The State Street Plaza was to be 10-stories with 180 units, 136 of which would have been income restricted.  The RDA plans to keep the project as an affordable housing development.

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