Ivory shares details about new homes it plans to build on Central City site donated by LDS Church

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Ivory Innovations, the nonprofit group affiliated with one of Utah’s biggest homebuilders, plans to retrofit a historic recreation center into a multifamily building and add another 36 townhomes on the nearly 2.5 acres it received from the LDS Church.

The site at 707 S. 400 E. in Salt Lake City’s Central City neighborhood is home to the Liberty Wells Recreation Center and vacant land. Building Salt Lake first reported that Ivory Innovations entered into a donation agreement with the church in December.

And while it was safe to expect Ivory would focus on housing, a preliminary document filed with the city this week sheds some new light onto what’s on the way.

It appears from the plan that the recreation center, on the northwest corner of the site, would be retrofitted into 30 units, with 25 one-bedroom residences and five two-bedroom residences.

Those residences would have surface parking immediately to the south.

The townhomes would be built in eight separate buildings. Six buildings would include five townhomes, and two would have three townhomes. Ten homes would front 400 East, with the rest being set away from the street.

Among the townhomes, there would be 20 two-bedroom homes and 16 three-bedroom homes. Most would include two garage parking stalls, accessed by two driveways from 400 East.

Ivory Innovations, which is focused on housing affordability, hasn’t yet released plans on whether the townhomes or retrofitted recreation center will be owner-occupied, rentals or a mix.

Representatives from the nonprofit did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

The neighborhood has been asking Ivory Innovations to include family-sized units and for-sale housing as part of the project.

“We are excited to welcome Ivory Innovations to the neighborhood and we look forward to working with them to develop a thoughtful design that makes sense for our unique community,” Rhianna Riggs, chair of the Central City Community Council, said in April.

“Three-bedroom townhomes would be a great housing option in this location,” Riggs said. “A healthy neighborhood has a balance of rental and owner-occupied housing.”

This part of the city is 15 percent owner-occupied, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, and neighborhood leadership has begun advocating for more opportunities for home ownership in Central City.

Ivory Innovations said in May that it was still working on its plans and would share details with the neighborhood in June. 

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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.