Developers want to build new apartments on Rose Park site of former problem motel

Charges against two men accused of running a prostitution ring out of a Rose Park motel appear to have opened the door to new housing, as a developer converted the property into apartments and now wants to add a new building on the site’s north end.

The new owner intends to build Ville 9, a 30-unit apartment building just north of the site, if he receives permission from the city, according to plans submitted to the city.

The conversion shows the opportunity to turn problem motels into low-income housing units quickly and efficiently, while the apartment building would add density in an area unlikely to push back given the proximity to Interstate 15.

The Ville 9 apartments would be placed next to a sound wall for the 1000 North off-ramp of Interstate 15 at 900 West in Rose Park.

This photo included in the developer’s application to the city shows the vacant portion of the property, where new apartments will be built, looking south near 1025 N. 900 W. in Rose Park. Photo courtesy of Salt Lake City Planning.

Few details were provided along with a design review application submitted this month, including details on general rents. The application was submitted by Joe Colosimo of the Colosimo Brothers Development.

The property is now owned by Keith Warburton, whose firm buys “distressed properties” and renovates them into affordable ones.

While there are no publicly available records of a sale of the motel, the previous owner of the Salt City Motel was charged in April with exploiting prostitution, money laundering and maintaining a public nuisance.

The new housing would all be one-bedroom, with 10 units per floor that are 787 square feet plus a 54-square-foot balcony. Surface parking would be provided, though the materials don’t specify stall counts.

The owner is looking to combine the property and build the three-story apartment building on vacant land north of the motel and immediately west of I-15.

The new apartments would be “on a vacant parcel to be combined and shared with the existing two story motel that has been converted to studio apartments at the same site,” the developers wrote in their application.

While details still aren’t fully available, it appears the former motel is being used as low-income studio apartments. If that’s the case, it wouldn’t be the first time a low-rate motel — many of which are nuisance properties and a drain on police resources — quickly added to the city’s housing stock.

The Housing Authority of Salt Lake City bought the Capitol Motel at 1749 S. State St. in 2018 and worked with the HomeInn to manage it. After light renovations, the rooms were rented at monthly rates available to people making less than minimum wage. The few-dozen rooms filled up rapidly.

That Capitol Motel site is now under construction to become Capitol Homes, a mixed-use, mixed-income apartment building with units ranging from very-low-income to market rate.

The Ville 9 application included a letter from The Road Home, which operates the South Salt Lake men’s homeless shelter and family shelter in Midvale. 

It mentions The Road Home housing division started working with Warburton in July to house people who had experienced homelessness.

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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.