Coachman’s proposal slimmed to two buildings with bigger units

The family proposing to turn its shuttered diner and dated office space into mixed-use condos has revised its plans after intense criticism from the city’s Planning Commission over the winter.

Mike Nikols has originally proposed one colossal building stretching nearly an entire Salt Lake City block for the site, a tremendously long stretch of building that would have indefinitely added a looming mass over the area of 1300 S. State. 

The expanse will still be filled under the latest proposals. But rather than one single building with condos above retail space and a possible restaurant, Nikols is asking for permission to build two condo buildings with fewer (but larger) housing units overall.

His proposal goes before the Planning Commission on Wednesday for a vote, and Planning staff recommends approval of the project with some slight conditions around lighting and driveway access.

The two buildings would be 65 feet tall each. They’d be connected by a sky bridge that’s set back from State Street, south of 1300 South.

The length of the longest facade has been lowered by about 40 percent, from 551.5 feet to 325 feet on the north building.

Parking has been moved underground, allowing for more space for the residences. A courtyard has been added in the middle of the north building.

Instead of 112 condos, the project would have 94 in the two buildings. Plans to have any space for studio units have been dropped. 

The original rendering (left) compared to the latest rendering (right). Courtesy of AE Urbia.

During a Planning Commission hearing in December, Nikols couldn’t say exactly how many units and of what size the building would include. He changed the number of units in the project in real-time under scrutiny from commission members.

The latest version adds 16 three-bedroom units into the mix. All studios have been removed and replaced by far more two-bedroom homes.

Nikols has maintained he wants to provide an affordable, for-sale housing option that’s largely not being met in a runaway housing market. The latest addition makes it feasible he could provide much-needed, attainable, family-sized housing into the Salt Lake City market.

North Building

  • 1 bedrooms = 13 units
  • 2 bedrooms = 25 units
  • 3 bedrooms = 6 units
  • Total = 44 units

South Building

  • 1 bedrooms = 10 units
  • 2 bedrooms = 30 units
  • 3 bedrooms = 10 units
  • Total = 50 units

The setback along 1300 South would still be 23.5 feet, increased to give more space to pedestrians and also to set the building back from existing power lines.

Planning staff suggested the latest design would improve the pedestrian experience, though there are no plans to increase the setbacks along State Street. The existing sidewalk along State doesn’t provide room for the increased pedestrian activity the project seeks to promote.

If Nikols and the developers are truly committed to creating a better pedestrian experience, they should consider voluntarily widening the sidewalk in front of their block-long development. 

The plans include 25,942 square feet of ground-floor retail in three separate spaces.

The developers are proposing space for 247 private vehicles, or a 2.62 to 1 parking-to-unit ratio (not including retail space). Just 10 bike parking stalls are required under the city’s outdated ordinance around parking.

Construction Details

  • Owner: Mike Nikols
  • Architect: AE Urbia
  • General Contractor: Stout
  • Structural Engineer: AE Urbia
  • Electrical Engineer: Anderson Whalen & Associates

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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.