The Encore Apartments will bring density to one of Salt Lake’s most important corridors. The seven-story, 189-unit apartment building on the 400 East block of 400 South is framed out and exterior work has begun. As the project is still underway, it is still early for a final critique. But in its current state, the project appears to feed the City’s addiction to various forms of gray and white stucco (read beige).
The project has some good points, it avoids being a large box and its 2nd floor courtyard area faces 400 South instead of being hidden back behind the apartments. The project has zero setback on Denver Street and 500 East, but it lacks real street engagement on 400 South. The 400 South facing side of the development has what appears to be a setback of around 10 feet with landscaping that will separate Encore from the sidewalk.
According to Corey Johnson with Wasatch Advantage Group, the developers of the project, ground-floor retail wasn’t economically feasible for the Encore because mixed-use projects are more expensive and difficult to get financed. Johnson stated that architects moved the leasing office and gym to the street level to balance the lack of retail.
Wasatch Advantage Group have shown that they can build projects that avoid creating residential islands and monochromatic exteriors. Providence Place, another Wasatch Advantage Group development, has some street engagement without having ground-floor retail. The apartments at the intersection of 100 South and 300 East have zero setback from the sidewalk and feature an exterior color palette that avoids the common whites and grays that dominate the recent multifamily developments in Salt Lake.