Commission approves central ninth mixed-use development

Rendering of the northwest corner of the Ruth. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.

The Central Ninth neighborhood is quickly becoming Salt Lake City’s premier neighborhood for missing middle housing, with multiple projects underway within a two block radius of the 900 South TRAX station.  On Wednesday the Salt Lake City Planning Commission unanimously approved a Planned Development application and a Preliminary Subdivision Plat Application for the Ruth, a 17-unit mixed-use project by CW Urban proposed for the 800 south block of 300 West.

The Ruth will be CW Urban’s second missing middle project in the neighborhood.  The developers are constructing the Ruby, a 12-unit, single-family attached row house development on the 800 South block of West Temple.

“We’re focused solely on infill development in Salt Lake,” said Jake Williams of CW Urban.  “Our goal is to create these micro-communities inside of greater neighborhoods that are already existing.”

The project will consist of 17 single-family attached homes and a commercial building.  Because of the previous uses on the property, which is currently used as a car repair shop, the developers will need to do some site remediation before they can build residential units.

The site plan for the Ruth. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.

The row houses will be between 1500 and 1700 square feet and will be a mix of two and three bedroom units.  The ground floor will include a two car garage and what Williams refers to as urban flex space, they can be used as workspace or another bedroom.  The second floor will include the living space with the bedrooms on the third floor.

As with the Ruby, the Ruth’s buildings will be built right up to the street level.  The interior units will front an alley that will separate the project from the adjacent Prana Townhomes, a 21-unit townhome development on the 800 south block of Washington Street.  Unlike the Prana, the Ruth will be owner-occupied homes.

Unlike most of the townhome developments underway, the Ruth will include a two-story 3,000 square-foot commercial building that will occupy the prominent southeast corner at the 800 South and 300 West intersection.  Williams told the commission that the size of the proposed commercial space is intentionally smaller because that better fits the type of commercial tenants the Central Ninth and Granary Neighborhoodsoods are attracting.  Williams said that the team is looking to lease to a restaurant or coffee shop for the commercial building’s first floor and either put offices or an apartment on the second floor.

“I really think this is thoughtfully designed and it is great to see something that is not all stucco,” said commission member Emily Brown, who made the motion to approve the development.

According to Williams, his development team has consulted with Daniel Parolek, a principal at Berkeley-based Opticos Design and urban planner, that coined the term the “missing middle.”

“We’re focused on the missing middle, to help create walkable neighborhoods,” said Williams.  “We feel like it is something that is somewhat missing in Salt Lake because of how we grew.  We went to big from single family pretty quickly.”

The north face of the Ruth fronting 800 South. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.
The west face of the Ruth fronting 300 West. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.

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 isaac@buildingsaltlake.com.