Developers unveil new design for motel replacement in Ballpark

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The development team behind the pitch to replace a crime-ridden motel have unveiled their proposed design for one of two new buildings in the Ballpark neighborhood. 

The building would include 245 residences in a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom units at 1518 S. Main St., currently home to the Main Street Motel. A separate building across Andrew Avenue to the north would add another 31 residences in a three-story building.

The development would continue the ongoing buildout of Ballpark near Main Street and 1700 South, an area that has seen a mix of for-sale and rental housing options built recently, with many more on the way.

Use the slider to see existing conditions compared with the proposed new buildings. Urban Alfandre has proposed replacing the Main Street Motel and a vacant corner lot with two buildings. Rendering by AE Urbia.

The development is being led by Urban Alfandre, which is an advertiser on Building Salt Lake. It would need city approval on two conditions in order to move forward as designed.

First, the main building would have facade lengths that are significantly longer than what’s allowed by the FB-UN2 zoning. The building would exceed the maximum 200-foot building length on all sides, with the north end being the longest facade at 296 feet long.

The developers said they tried to break up the massing of the structure to make it seem like two urban buildings with no setback between them along Andrew Avenue. Part of the facade would include walk-up units with steps leading to Andrew. After a 198-foot facade, the building materials would shift to red brick, with a 2,320-square-foot leasing office leading to Main Street.

A 1,745-square-foot retail space would front Main Street.

It appears the ground floor has 13-foot ceilings, with residential units having 10-foot ceilings and the building capping out at 50 feet tall.

Unit Breakdown

  • One-bedroom: 137
  • Two-bedroom: 33
  • Studios: 75
  • Total units: 245

(The unit breakdown doesn’t include the north building, which would include an additional 31 studio units.)

The building would also need approval to use a kind of stucco material known as External Insulation and Finishing Systems (EIFS), which isn’t listed as an approved durable material in the FB-UN2 zone.

A parking problem?

The proposal appears to misstate the minimum number of required parking stalls, saying 254 off-street parking stalls were required.

The 2-acre parcel is zoned FB-UN2, which doesn’t require any off-street parking spaces. Still, the developers would include 266 stalls in structured parking.

It also appears to fall short of the required bike stalls, providing just 13 stalls for the people living in 245 residential units. That’s based on an outdated calculation that required new buildings to provide one bike stall for every 20 car parking spaces.

The city’s updated parking ordinance requires one space to store bikes for every two residential units, or 123 stalls. If the bike parking is secured, the building could have space for 62 bikes.

The City Council approved an updated off-street parking ordinance in October. It gave developers between October and Feb. 18 the option of following the old parking requirements (which generally required more car parking and less bike parking), or the new ones. Submissions after Feb. 18 must follow the new ordinance.

The design review application for the Main Street Motel first turned up on the Building Salt Lake Permitting Search feature on Feb. 28.

The neighborhood scale

When it approved a new master plan for a part of the Ballpark neighborhood, the city chose to keep the area south of the stadium lower scale than the area immediately west of the stadium.

With a cap at 50 feet on this building, and a street right of way at 120 feet, the area will have a close to 1:2.5 building to street ratio. That makes opportunities for placemaking a bit tougher, but not impossible.

Salt Lake City recently “right-sized” the number of traffic lanes on Main Street, changing it from four travel lanes plus parking to three travel lanes, buffered bike lane and parking.

It has the opportunity to create a regional bike route on Main, though the city has been unable or unwilling to find the investment required to make that kind of change.

The city could begin to explore updates to its minimum sidewalk width requirements in areas that are seeing as much development as Ballpark to allow for better walkability.

One thing is certain: Many more people will be living in Ballpark in the near future.

Development Details

  • Developer: Urban Alfandre
  • Architect/Engineer: AE Urbia

Email Taylor Anderson

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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.