Developer looking to build affordable housing along 300 West loses out on project

A developer that had planned for a low-income housing development in Salt Lake City’s Ballpark neighborhood has dropped out after looking for city approval for its new building next to a TRAX station.

A developer that had been looking for city approval to build alongside the TRAX station in an increasingly popular area along 2100 South lost out on its purchase of the vacant building.

The proposed building would have both continued the residential development along TRAX in the city’s Ballpark neighborhood but also ensured the recent development included low-income housing. But the developers told us they missed out on the opportunity.

“We were really looking forward to developing The Nest affordable housing and feel that it would have been a great addition to the area,” said Janet West, manager with W3 Partners. “The property sale fell through.”

An area dominated by big box retail stores has recently seen interest from builders willing to add residential units along a popular transit line. The surrounding commercial zoning in the area makes it easy for developers who create projects within CC zoning that limits height and density even along high-frequency transit lines.

The Nest @ 21st apartments would have brought 244 units to 160 West 2100 South. The developers had been in the process of reaching out to the neighborhood and undergoing the design review process with the city when the sale fell through. It would have required permission for an additional 15 feet, up to 45 feet.

“Basically, the seller chose to sell it to another party who could close earlier,” West told us. “We were making great progress on the height modification application….then the seller had another offer on the property and we couldn’t come to a final consensus on the documentation to move forward even though we matched the offer.”

Projects that use low-income housing tax credits for funding are notoriously difficult to pencil out. The Nest is just one such project that didn’t work out.

Despite the uncertainty of the economy, multi-family housing development appears to be continuing in Salt Lake City. And COVID-19 didn’t appear to play a role in derailing The Nest.

“COVID did not help as everything seemed to slow down once that hit,” West said. “We hope that the new buyer will contribute positively to the property and street along that area.”

Another development along the TRAX line in Ballpark, albeit not along or near a TRAX station, recently went under contract.

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.