Council approves loan for the redevelopment of the Capitol Motel

Conceptual rendering of the proposed Capitol Motel development as designed by Method Studio. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.

Another crime-prone motel is poised to be redeveloped into a mixed-use, mixed-income project.  On Tuesday the Salt Lake City Council, acting as the Board of Directors for the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City, approved a $3.2 million for Housing Assistance Management Enterprise (HAME) to purchase and develop four parcels on the 1700 South block of State Street.

“The entire community is excited about this project, we hope it’s the first of four or five similar projects along State Street,” said Councilmember Erin Mendenhall.

HAME, in collaboration with the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City (HASLC), wants to build a four-story, mixed-use project with 108 units.  The units will have a mix of 40 studio, 60 one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom apartments, 67 percent of which will be income restricted.

The project will also include 1,030 square feet of ground floor commercial space that would initially be used as community space but later converted to a commercial use as the demand for commercial increases in the area.

The site was one of five selected last year by the city’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Affordable Housing as potential areas to develop more affordable housing.  The development will replace the Capitol Motel, a shoe shop, a tattoo parlor and a single-family home.

According to Dan Nackerman, the executive director of the HASLC and the president of HAME, the affordable units will start at 25 percent Area Median Income (AMI).  Project-wide the units will average 40 percent.  Because the market rate is lower in the neighborhood surrounding the development, Nackerman noted that the project’s market-rate rents would be comparable to 80 percent AMI units in more affluent parts of the city.

In the interim, the development team plans to use the motel’s current units as rapid rehousing and transitional housing to those leaving or avoiding homelessness.  The motel has a history of quality life issues including prostitution, drug dealing and at least one high profile murder.

“We feel like we’ll be able to really manage it much so better than it is now and frankly make the neighbors and the ballpark community much happier,” said Nackerman.

Nackerman said that the project would have limited off-street parking and would be built up to the street level (current renderings show a slight setback with angled surface stalls) similar to the HASLC’s 9th East Lofts at Bennion Plaza, a six-story mixed-used building with 68 income-restricted units on the 400 South block of 900 East.  Unlike the Lofts, the project isn’t near a TRAX station but is directly adjacent to the high-frequency 200 Bus Route that runs daytime buses every 15 minutes on Street Street.

The loan will be dispursed in two installments, the first will be for land acquisition and the second will go towards the redevelopment of the properties.  The parcels are zoned CC (Commercial Corridor) which allows for building heights up to 30 feet.  Because of the project’s proposed height, the developers will likely need approval from the Salt Lake City Planning Commission.

The tentative ground floor plans for the proposed Capitol Motel development. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.
Map of the Capitol Motel Development site. The property is outlined in red. 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