City selects developer for the Northwest Pipeline project

Almost four months to they day since Salt Lake City leaders announced plans work with a private partner to redevelop the historic Northwest Pipeline Building site (former Public Safety Building), 315 E. 200 South, city leaders have selected a partner.  City leaders announced Wednesday afternoon that the city has selected Cowboy Partners and Form Development to convert the pipeline building site into a mixed-use, affordable housing development. 

“This will be a transformative project that effectively incorporates affordable housing units, historic renovation, neighborhood commercial space and even a half-acre of public open space right downtown,” said Housing and Neighborhood Development Division Director Mike Akerlow in a press release.

The city released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for development of the 2.5-acre site in August.  According to the city, four qualified proposals were submitted and reviewed by the project’s selection committee, comprised of city and community representatives.

The terms established in the RFP required an affordable housing component, the renovation of the Northwest Pipeline building, space for neighborhood businesses  and public open space.

According to the city, Cowboy Partners and Form Development propose to not only renovate the Northwest Pipeline building, but construct two new adjacent buildings consisting of a combined 248 new residential units.  Of those units, 65 will be for permanent supportive housing, 28 will be affordable units for those earning 40-60 percent of the area median income (AMI) and 155 units will market rate.  The proposal also includes 11,200 square feet of neighborhood commercial space and 1,210 square feet of rent-free space for a business that provides employment opportunities for chronically homeless individuals.

Cowboy Partners and Form Development will first need formally acquire the site from the city.  The developers will then need to go through the site design review process (receive design approval from the Planning Commission) before they can start construction.  

The Northwest Pipeline Building was built in 1958 in the International style of architecture.  The building was most recently the headquarters for Salt Lake City’s Police and Fire department operations. In 2011, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, making a future developer eligible for tax credits to be used toward its rehabilitation. 

The Utah Heritage Foundation was an active participant in getting the building on the historic register.  According to the Kirk Huffaker, the foundation’s executive director, getting the building listed was key to ensuring its preservation and likelihood for redevelopment through tax credits.

The development is one of two potential public/private partnerships on the 300 East block of 200 South.  The federal government is looking to transfer ownership of the vacant, 1.54 acre, Salt Lake Motor Pool property at 330 East 200 South in exchange for renovation work of the James V. Hansen Federal Building at 324 25th St. in Ogden.

This is the second time this year that the city has selected Cowboy Partners to develop city owned parcels.  In June, the City Council, acting as the board of directors of the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake, selected Cowboy Partners and Boyer to develop a two-acre parcel on 600 West across from the Intermodal Hub as part of the city’s Station Center project.

Form Development also has previous experience working with the city.  This summer, the RDA board of directors approved a resolution allowing the Form to purchase three RDA owned parcels on the 100 South Block of Regent Street for the proposed Regent Street Hotel.

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