City seeks proposals to redevelop 400 south block

Potential site plan for the redevelopment of the 300 East block of 400 South. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning.

Salt Lake City is looking to again develop a city-owned parcel near downtown.  On Monday, Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced that her administration is seeking RFPs (requests for proposals) to create an innovative, transit-orientated development on 2.3-acres at 320 East 400 South.

The parcels up for development include the old Barnes Bank building and the Salt Lake Roasting Company directly north and east of the Public Safety Building.

City officials envision a mixed-use district focused on innovation and are asking interested developers to submit plans for the parcels that include “startup” micro-unit apartments, business incubator space, affordable and market-rate housing units and ground-level retail.  

“We want to see innovation in not only design and materials but in financing as well,” said Councilmember Derek Kitchen.

 The project area consists of two properties separated by Blair Street.  The first property, at the northwest corner of the block, includes the five-story Barnes Bank building and the two-story Salt Lake Roasting Company building.  The second property just east of Blair Street includes the two-story commercial building and a 25,000 square-foot surface parking lot.  Kitchen referenced adaptive reuse of the buildings already on the property as one way that developers could reduce project costs.

The properties are zoned TSA-UC-C (Transit Station Urban Center core) which allows for building heights up to 10-stories and requires projects to be pedestrian and transit-orientated.

The selected developer will need to present final construction and design documents to a Design Review Committee for final approval before the properties can be transferred to the developer for construction.   While the developers will need to purchase the land from the city and will be responsible for all construction and development costs, the project could qualify for various low-interest loans from either the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake, the Economic Development Loan Fund and/or the Housing Trust Fund.  Developers could also apply for an additional loan for an eligible affordable housing component.

According to the RFP description, the city will give priority to proposals that maximize the number of residential units, including micro units and affordable housing at a variety of incomes at or less 60 percent AMI (Area Median Income).  The city also wants developers to prioritize three-bedroom units in their plans for affordable housing and include active ground floor retail on 400 South and 300 East.

The city is requiring a minimum of 40 micro-units for residents earning 40 percent AMI and shared community space for residents.  The business incubator will need to provide at least 3,000 square feet of office and common space and at least 500 square feet of short-term retail to be programmed through the incubator.  The development will need to be built to LEED Gold standards.

The 400 South TOD project is the second public/private partnership underway through the office of  Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND).  The city is working with Cowboy Partners and Form Development to redevelop the Northwest Pipeline Building (former Public Safety Building) on the 300 East block of 200 South.

RFP’s are due to the city on April 10, 2017.


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