Hardware District co-living, dorm-style project nearing completion

As the luxury Downtown Salt Lake apartment market softens for investors, it would seem increasingly risky business to be bringing new top-class residential product to the market.

Unless, perhaps, those luxury living spaces were furnished, hoping to undercut competitors, and offering social programming to lonely Gen Z singles, work-from-homers, and digital nomads.

The notion of “co-living,” where tenants opt for less private space in exchange for lower rent and the promise of social interaction through shared space has become a robust, yet still small niche in the multi-family market.

Social isolation is a modern epidemic, and offering young adults programmed opportunities for face-to-face, “in real life” social interaction makes good sociological and business sense.

In real estate it’s taking the form of offering renters private micro-units while providing shared spaces for cooking, lounging, and working.

In Salt Lake’s context, add the premium elements of Downtown living and a dedicated “resident advisor” to lead social programming, and you have the city’s first post-college, co-living, co-working apartment project—as we first reported back in 2019.

At 470 West 200 North, as part of the build out of the Hardware District, SALT Development is starting pre-leasing this month for a project called Salt Lake Crossing, due to be completed in April.

Let’s take a closer look at a venture looking to attract over 300 people to a plug-and-play, live-work early-career lifestyle that offers programmed social interaction as a basic feature of the lease.

PROJECT STATS

The 300-unit project on 1.52 acres is impressively dense, offering 198 units per acre.

180 parking stalls will service the development, and will cost tenants an extra $150 to rent monthly, according to representatives for the developers.

That parking ratio and extra charge likely means that about half the residents—perhaps more—will be living without a car. The North Temple Bridge – west Capitol Hill – Guadalupe neighborhood is transit-rich and rated as very walkable and bikeable.

150 of those apartment homes will be micro units, averaging 272 SF, which the developer is calling “studios.” Occupancy is limited to one person, and rent starts at $1300.

Studios will come 30 to a floor, and will enjoy access to a “double gourmet kitchen,” a “family room,” and a dining area. Breakfast items and coffee will be available each day in the kitchens.

The 272 SF studio unit includes a bed, smart TV, workstation, built-in storage, and high-speed Google Fiber internet. An add-on package includes bedding, linens, and kitchenware. A cleaning service is also available for extra charge.

The micro units also have a private bathroom and a kitchenette that includes a two-burner stove top, a microwave, and refrigerator.

The development’s other 150 units are “open one-bedrooms,” meaning there is no separate room enclosure for a bed and closet. The 564 SF unit provides a full kitchen with “luxury stainless-steel appliances” and can accommodate up to three people, “well-suited for couples or small families with young children,” a developer’s representative told us.

“Open one-bedroom” rents start at $1650, and like the studio units includes an option to purchase access to the project’s co-working space as a discounted price. All residents will have entry into the fitness facilities, rooftop deck, pool, and spa located in the building fronting 200 North.

Both types of units will offer leases from 1 to 15 months.

Besides the amenities, what’s the project’s premium edge? According to the project’s public relations arm, “what’s most unique about the Salt Lake Crossing model is its programming, which will encourage frequent events planned, executed and funded by the Resident Advisors on the floors.”

Images courtesy Method Studio and SALT Development

While declining to give specific examples of resident programming, representatives told us “Our comprehensive programming is designed to cultivate meaningful interactions and foster a sense of belonging among our residents.”

THE PUBLIC REALM

Our previous coverage of this project was critical of it offering no activation along its over 400-foot façade on 490/500 West, which faces an important UTA bus stop and FrontRunner commuter rail station.

It is part of the Hardware District which has proved to be more insular than urbanist.

The only activation along the 400-plus feet façade of 490 West besides parking garage entrances will consist of “3 street-facing areas to showcase local art,” representatives told us. The project was approved by the city’s Planning Commission in 2020.

The current state of the project, photos by Mike Christensen | Building Salt Lake

The 200 North frontage, on the south end of the project, will offer a coffee shop open to the public and a leasing office.

While easy to deride as “dorms for 20-somethings,” the co-living real estate model likely deserves closer attention as an attractive live-work option for young professionals not wanting to furnish an apartment but needing easy access to Downtown amenities and programmed social interaction.

Editor’s note: This post has been corrected. The micro “studio” units average 272 SF, not 228 as reported. In addition, the “open one-bedroom” units average 564 SF, not 472. The smaller numbers were submitted by the developer in a previous application. Also, all residents will have access to the fitness rooms, roof-top pool, deck, and spa in the south building as part of their rent; entry is not an extra charge as previously stated.

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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.