North Temple affordable housing project back on track thanks to RDA loan adjustment

Despite industry slowdowns, the North Temple transit corridor near I-215 continues its buildout. A two-phase 100% affordable housing project at 1881 W. North Temple that was called off due to high costs in 2022 has seen revival under a new owner and help from the city’s Redevelopment Agency.

At its meeting last week, the RDA Board approved a major change in terms to its $1.13 million loan to the 372-unit Catherine that was announced in March

Developer 22 Communities, which took over the project from the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City, requested that the terms of the loan be changed so that it can be used to purchase the property at 1881 W. North Temple. That’s usually a no-no according to the terms of the RDA’s low-interest Housing Development Loan Fund, which awarded a loan to the developers between 1-2% over 30 years in March with the understanding that it would be converted into a permanent loan.

The property is currently in light industrial use and only half a block away from the 1940 W. North Temple TRAX station. 

22 Communities explained that they needed the funds to buy the property because their application for 4% LIHTC tax credits in the last round of awards was unsuccessful. The developers hope to be on the front end of the first-come-first-served process later this year.

While the RDA agreed to the change, conditions apply:  if the project doesn’t receive LIHTC financing and a construction-to-permanent loan within two years, the RDA loan would kick in at a high interest rate, namely the US Treasury Bond rate, roughly 5%, plus an additional 8 percentage points. Otherwise the loan will revert to its original interest rate, between 1-2%.

The Project

The Catherinre’s 1.94-acre parcel is narrow and deep, roughly 132 feet by 800 feet. The County Assessor considers the property worth $7.34 million. 

It will stand between two recently-built projects on the south side of the street, the Village at North Station apartments and The Meridian.

Public-sector enthusiasm for the project is likely coming from its affordability level and unit mix. Street-facing design, not so much. The project is single-use and city documents do not indicate what the ground-floor uses will be.

The Catherine’s two phases will bring 372 new homes to the market-–all affordable to those making 41-60% AMI.

Unit mix numbers are unclear in RDA documents, stating only that it will be a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom homes. 

Previous applications to the city had projected 350 apartments, with the following mix of sizes:

  • One-bedroom: 260 units
  • Two-bedroom: 50 units
  • Three-bedroom: 40 units
  • Total Units: 350

The podium plus five structure will offer 224 parking stalls. With 372 apartments that equates to a .6 to 1 ratio of  parking stalls per unit.

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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.