Commission gives initial approval for large Sugar House project

Rendering of the north face of the proposed Shopko Block development. Image courtesy Dixon Architects.

Developers can now move forward on the redevelopment of the former Shopko site in Sugar House, but a few restrictions remain.  On Wednesday, the Salt Lake City Planning Commission approved with conditions a conditional building and site design review (CBSDR) for the three-building development proposed for a nine-acre parcel on the 2200 South block between 1300 East and Highland Drive.

Rendering of the clock tower looking southwest from Stringham Avenue. Image courtesy Dixon Architects.

The project, by developers Sentinel Development in collaboration with real estate investment company Westport Capital Partners, will consist of a medical building and outpatient clinic run by the University of Utah, an office building, residential building, parking podium and two new streets.

While the CBSDR approval allows developers to begin construction once building permits are approved, the developers will need to return for to the Planning Commission for approval of ground floor elements in portions of the development before a certificate of occupancy can be issued.

Commission members expressed frustration with the developers locating a proposed deli and pharmacy in the interior of the medical building, instead of fronting Stringham Avenue.  The developers will need to return to the commission at a later date for approvals of the first two floors of the University of Utah outpatient clinic.

The medical building will occupy the northern edge of the project area.  The building will be five stories and will include the University of Utah health center that will offer full outpatient services, including the Moran Eye Center, primary care, radiology, urgent care and specialist services.

A plaza and valet parking will occupy a portion of the podium to floor adjacent to the medical center. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.

Occupying the center of the project area will be a six-story office building.  The office and medical buildings will share a parking podium.  The medical building will have at-grade access above the podium, but the entirety of the office building will sit above the podium.

Apart from valet parking and a public plaza adjacent to the medical building, the majority of the top floor of the parking podium will be reserved for parking.  Several above-grade portions of the parking podium will be separated from the street level by podium/window boxes and an art gallery.

Several commission members were concerned with the proposed window/podium boxes that the developers intend to place along portions of Stringham Avenue.  The intention of the boxes is to provide displays that engage at the street level while blocking views of the stairwells and other portions of the parking podium.

Rendering of the proposed art gallery space looking south from Stringham Avenue. Image courtesy Dixon Architects.

While commission members had concerns with the street level activation of the medical building and parking podium, commission members had a more favorable view of the residential portion.  The project’s architects, Dixon Architects, redesigned the seven-story mixed used residential building to reflect the art-deco style historically associated with the Sugar House neighborhood.

The residential building will consist of five wood-framed floors above a two-story parking podium with ground floor retail.  The mixed-use building will include an outdoor dining area on Stringham Avenue and the residential portion will be setback above the podium level to allow for more outdoor space and outdoor amenities for residents.  Construction of the residential building is expected to start after the medical and office buildings are completed.

The developers have received their demolition permits and demolition of the former Shopko building should begin in the next few weeks.

Updated rendering of the proposed office building in the Shopko Block redevelopment. Image courtesy Dixon Architects.
Revised design of the residential portion of the redevelopment of the Shopko block. Image courtesy Dixon Architects.

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