Developers not waiting for city’s affordable housing overlay to build a rooming house in East Central

In one of the city’s most in-demand neighborhoods – less than a mile from the University of Utah – local developers have applied to build a “Co-living Rooming House” and are willing to seek four separate approvals (two that will have to go to the city council) to get it done. 

At 129 South 700 East,  Foursquare Holdings, based in Cottonwood Heights, plans a 65-unit rent-by-the-room building sited on Bueno Avenue, one of East Central’s “center court” streets that breaks up the 10-acre block between 100 and 200 South, 700 and 800 East.

Overhead of the project’s block. Image courtesy Charlan Brock Associates architects.

We’re going to call it the “Bueno Avenue Apartments.” The project’s 65 2-4 BR units will contain a total of 192 bedrooms. Each bedroom has a private bath, with shared kitchen and living room areas. The developer’s application states “We believe that we can provide housing that has all of the amenities and high-end features as other new multifamily uses, while leasing at attainable rates for individuals at all income levels.” 

The project seeks to be affordable without federal tax credits subsidizing rents.

Early rendering of the project’s 65-unit, 192-bedroom residential building. Image courtesy Charlan Brock Associates architects.

The developers are asking the city to approve a upzone to RMF-45 on the seven parcels currently on Bueno that are zoned SR-3 on which seven homes sit, all to be demolished. 

In addition, the Central Community master plan needs amending for those properties on Bueno to be upzoned. Rooming Houses are conditional uses in the RMF-45 zone, and the developers are also proposing a planned development, given that their designs do not meet the street frontage or setback requirements for the zone.

Site plan for the project. Image courtesy Charlan Brock Associates architects.

Receiving entitlements for the project would probably be an easier lift in the wake of some major code revisions still in process for the city’s RMF zones, as well as its Affordable Housing Overlay. The latter is still in the hands of the Planning Division, yet to be transmitted to the City Council office.

Examples of projects built by the same developer and architect. Images courtesy Charlan Brock Associates architects.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to correct an error. The Affordable Housing Overlay has not yet been submitted to the city council by the Planning Division.

Posted by Luke Garrott

Luke Garrott, PhD, has published in The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, and written features for the Salt Lake City Weekly City Guide and The West View. A former two-term councilman in Salt Lake City's District 4, he lives in Downtown Salt Lake City and grew up in the Chicago area.