Demolition work starts on Liberty Square project

Crews begin demolition work at the 600 East block of 500 South. Photo by Isaac Riddle.

Construction will soon begin on a large residential project in an area dominated by commercial and retail at the 600 East block of 400 and 500 South.  Demolition work has started on a collection of small warehouses and one-story commercial buildings to make way Liberty Square development, a 53 unit townhome rental residential community.

The project has been in development for over three years, first getting approval from the Historic Landmark Commission in July 2016.  At that time Cowboy Partners, the project’s developers, proposed a four-story residential building with 135 units and an adaptive reuse of the Ensign Floral Building on 600 East.

In May 2018 the HLC approved the current proposal of 47 townhomes in eight buildings and six units in the Ensign Floral Building.  According to planning documents, each townhome will be three stories with a garage on the ground floor, living room and kitchen on the second floor and the bedrooms on the third floor.  The homes will include balconies on both the second and third floors.

The Ensign Floral Building will be converted to a residential use with six apartments.  The floral building was built in 1959 and is considered a contributing historical structure representing the modern architectural style.

The updated project retains a similar aesthetic to the previously approved design and will have similar setbacks despite the project’s reduced density.  The corner of 500 South and Green Street will still serve as the architectural focus with the lobby, fitness center and leasing office occupying that space.

The change from a multifamily apartment building to townhomes has allowed the developers to add more pedestrian connections on the block.  Pedestrian enhancements will be made to the Green Street alley that connects Trader Joes and other 400 South retail spaces to 500 South.

In addition to the Green Street improvements, Cowboy plans to add a north-to-south walkway at the west side of the development and an east-to-west walkway that will connect the northernmost townhomes to Green Street and west side walkway.  The project will also have a plaza-style outdoor tenant space at the center of the development that will connect to the east-to-west walkway.

Revised rendering of the Liberty Square development as designed by Prescott Muir Architects. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.
Rendering of a renovated Ensign Floral Building. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.
The previous (left) and revised (right) site plans for Liberty Square. 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