*This is updated version of a previous post
The Ninth and Ninth district continues its eastward expansion. On Wednesday, the Salt Lake City Planning approved special exception and planned development requests from developers, RW Holdings LLC, that want to convert a one-story office building into a two story mixed-use commercial project on the 1000 East block of 900 South.
In the same meeting, the commission denied request to relocate required landscaping and increase the amount of glazing (using transparent glass used as external building materials) from 50 percent to 90 percent.
The proposed project would include a ground-floor restaurant with additional retail and office space. The current building was built in 1965 and consists of mostly brick and concrete and has little street engagement with a concrete wall that separates the parcel from the sidewalk. The developers will retain the site’s rear surface parking lot fronting McClelland Street.
To build as proposed the project will require extensive renovations. Developers want to extend the proposed outdoor dining area up to the current barrier wall and add a second story. The project is in the Residential Business District (RB zone) which allows up to 50 percent glazing on buildings.
According to planning documents, the project’s architects, SugarHouse Architects argued that the glazing is necessary to “make the building more inviting to the public by opening it up to the street and pedestrian traffic” and blurring “the edge between the building and site, visually expanding the front yard into the building.”
According to Phil Winston of Northstar Builders, the restaurant space will be occupied by an already-established local eatery. The restaurant will take up two-thirds of the main floor with the remaining space available for boutique retail. The second floor will be reserved for office space and the new corporate headquarters for Northstar Builders, the construction team behind the project.
Developers needed the special exception to have an outdoor dining area and height and yard setback zoning variances. Developers plan to build up to 35 feet, 5 feet more than allowed for projects in the RB zone. The extra height is to accommodate an elevator shaft.
Neighbors were concerned with the original glazing proposals with a large amount of glass, with one neighbor telling planning staff that the project “looked like a spaceship had landed” in 9th and 9th. The design will need to be adjusted to fit the 50 percent maximum glazing threshold.
The developers also wanted to relocate the front, interior side and corner side yard setbacks to the northeast and northwest corners to create landscaped buffers between the adjacent surface parking lot and an alleyway directly north of the parcel.
The project would extend the business district’s dining options east past 1000 East. The ground floor restaurant, with outdoor dining, will bring an active use to a parcel that is currently dead space.