In his latest surprise, Coachman’s owner puts failed State Street project up for sale

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The site of the shuttered Coachman’s restaurant at 1301 S. State in Salt Lake City’s Liberty Wells neighborhood hit the market on Monday after attempts to turn the restaurant and adjacent office building into a mixed-use development failed.

It may be an unpleasant surprise for a neighborhood that was promised a rare new-build condo project nearly three years ago.

The news shouldn’t entirely be a shocker, though. We reported in May that the project had stalled and appeared unlikely to move forward. The project ultimately failed after blunders by an inexperienced developer and the rapid rise in the cost of financing, and Colliers is offering the fully entitled site for an undisclosed price.

“Located just a block away from the Salt Lake Bees Smith’s Ballpark and surrounded by a dynamic mix of retail and commercial establishments, this property enjoys a strategic position that benefits both businesses and residents,” the listing says.

To be sure, the immediate area isn’t as dynamic as it could be, and the Bees are preparing to move from their site a block west to the suburbs.

State Street is a nine-lane surface highway, and the project proposed no setback or sidewalk widening on the building’s west facade.

The condition of the road, which is managed by the Utah Department of Transportation, has long stifled economic progress.

Still, the Coachman’s project promised to inject a significant amount of life into the area and was one of several redevelopment projects proposed on State Street in Liberty Wells.

But there were early signs that the project could fail. Mike Nikols, who was working to develop his family’s property, has no experience with development.

The project was initially tabled by the Planning Commission after Nikols didn’t have a unit breakdown or UDOT approval for curb cuts, which both initially gave commissioners concerns.

“From my perspective this project is not ready for primetime,” Commissioner Brenda Scheer said at the December 2021 meeting. “The applicant is talking about changing the unit mix significantly from what they have in the drawings.”

Nikols revised his plans and successfully rezoned the sprawling property — nearly an entire Salt Lake City block long — to allow for up to 153 units.

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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.