J. Fisher shares plans for new apartments next to a 134-year-old Downtown Synagogue

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Developers J. Fisher Companies and Gardner Group are preparing to sell one of Downtown Salt Lake City’s oldest buildings to a local arts organization that intends to preserve the building, Building Salt Lake has learned.

The impending sale of the 134-year-old B’Nai Israel Temple is part of a new development Fisher and Gardner have planned at 251 South 400 East, which would include an apartment building immediately south of the temple.

“We are thrilled to unveil this innovative apartment community that not only celebrates the vibrant spirit of downtown Salt Lake City but also pays homage to its rich heritage,” said Glenn Girsberger, partner at J. Fisher Companies. “By combining health and wellness-inspired living with historic preservation, we have created a truly unique living experience that we believe will resonate with residents and visitors alike.”

The developers said they hired Dwell Design Studios to create a building that focuses on health and wellness. Amenities will include fitness studio and outdoor spaces, the groups said.

Dwell used the temple as inspiration for the new building, which would include 110 apartments, studios through two-bedrooms.

Renderings show a new building with arched openings facing 400 East, mimicking the curved windows on the temple.

The temple would be obscured from the south by the new apartment building, which would be built without an apparent setback. The temple, meanwhile, was built about 50 feet back from the edge of the sidewalk.

The building appears to be seven stories tall, with double-height entry and top floors facing the street.

On the ground-floor, the building’s design calls for a double-wide drive aisle to access and exit the building’s parking garage. That drive aisle is placed in the middle of the building. To the right, a large gate would be used to obscure the building’s garbage storage. On the left of the drive aisle is an apparent leasing office. The building wouldn’t include public amenity space. 

The building is referred to as “The Frederick” in the renderings, a likely homage to Frederick Auerbach, an early Jewish pioneer in Salt Lake City.

The building will focus on energy-efficient appliances and include communal spaces, Fisher and Gardner said.

“We are proud to be a part of this transformative project that honors the history of downtown Salt Lake City while embracing the future of urban living,” said Dave Denison, senior development manager at the Gardner Group. “With its focus on health and wellness, this community is poised to become a cornerstone of the downtown area, providing residents with a great place to live, work, and thrive.”

The Davis County developer filed for a permit to demolish a nonconforming addition on the back of the 134-year-old B’Nai Israel Temple, which is one of Downtown’s oldest existing structures but which hasn’t been used as a place of worship since the 1970s.

The B’Nai Israel Temple is under contract with a local arts organization that plans to maintain the historic nature of the building and add to the arts community, Building Salt Lake confirmed. Details about those plans aren’t available, however.

Email Taylor Anderson

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Rendering courtesy of J. Fisher Companies and Dwell Design Studios
Rendering courtesy of J. Fisher Companies and Dwell Design Studios

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.