Old public safety building to be converted into affordable housing

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The city-owned, historic Northwest Pipeline Building in Downtown Salt Lake City will be transformed into a mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood with units available for lease by 2025, Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced Tuesday. 

“Salt Lake City has been sitting on this building for a long time,” Mendenhall said in a press conference. “For a very, very long time it’s sat here boarded.” 

The announcement follows a competitive bidding process led by a 10-person committee of community members and city officials, after earlier attempts to redevelop the 2.4-acre site went uncompleted for nearly a decade.

Housing Assistance Management Enterprise (HAME) will partner with the city, New York City-based Xylem Projects, and Common Ground Institute to renovate the 1958 Northwest Pipeline Building, construct two additional buildings, and incorporate retail and public spaces to create “The Grove.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall

More than 60% of the 244 units will be family-friendly with 2-4 bedrooms and 26% will have pathways to home ownership, Mendenhall said. The $150-$165 million project will have ground-level daycare services, healthcare clinics, a healthy food cafe, and access to free transit for K-12 students and their parents, she said. 

Dan Nackerman, President of HAME, said that first-time homebuyers can purchase a unit for approximately $205,000 for a family of two and $285,000 for a family of 4-6. 

“We designed this project to be reactive to the shortage of people latching onto the American dream,” Nackerman said. 

Rents will average between $1,000-$2,400, depending on family size–though some of the rents will be as low as $650, Nackerman said. The project targets household incomes between $40,000-$81,000, but will be available to those with incomes as low as $25,000 and as high as $153,000, he said. 

The nine-story Northwest Pipeline Building on 300 East and 200 South, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, served as the headquarters for SLC Police and Fire from 1979-2014. After the public safety departments relocated, the city has struggled to secure the property from unwanted uses and unsheltered people. 

Part of the site was developed into the Magnolia housing project, which provides 65 units of housing and supportive services for individuals who have experienced homelessness. A 2015 proposal for the site also included plans for the reuse of the Northwest Pipeline Building, a parking structure, and open space–but only the Magnolia project was completed. 

“I imagine this location–once the headquarters of Salt Lake City’s police, fire, and 911–becoming the literal home of Salt Lake City firefighters, police officers, public employees, teachers, students, and their families,” Former U.S. Congressman and Mayor of Salt Lake County Ben McAdams said. 

HAME and its partners will enter into negotiations with the city on final design and financial elements over the next several months. Nackerman says the developers plan to start construction on the Northwest Pipeline Building in 2025, and will likely begin construction on the “Hawthorne” and “Lupine” buildings in 2026. 

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