Planning Commission gives green light to new project that would extend the Post District

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A project that would add 286 apartments plus space for retail and commercial immediately west of the Post District got the go-ahead from the Planning Commission on Wednesday night.

The project is effectively an extension of the mixed-use district centered around 400 West between 500 South and 600 South by some of Salt Lake City’s most active developers today.

Lowe Property Group, BCG Holdings and Catalyst Opportunity Funds are working on a three-phase plan for what they’re calling the Silos at 568 S. 400 W. Phase one includes building two new residential buildings and retrofitting two existing historic warehouses into retail and commercial space.

The project gets its name from the flour mill and grain silos that front 500 South, and which will remain a focal point near a proposed privately owned, publicly accessible open space that’s part of the plan.

“This project is all about creating really meaningful open space that brings the users and the public up to these impressive structures,” Pieter Berger, a principal at MVE Partners told the Commission on Wednesday.

“Post District really created this incredible, urban hardscape plaza at the core of it,” Berger said. “The idea is that Silos really offers a similar type of gathering space, but it’s really in this central park space. It’s really a softer landscape area. Something that we really don’t think the district and the greater part of this part of town has to offer.”

The application that was approved on Wednesday will include 18,750 square feet of commercial and retail space, in addition to the 286 residences.

One of the buildings will front what the development team is calling Silo Park, with space for food and beverage fronting the park. (Given that the open space will be privately owned, it will likely be exempt from the State of Utah’s arcane liquor laws, likely helping attract a restaurant that serves alcohol.)

The future phases will bring more than 30,000 square feet more commercial space, Berger said. Documents shared also show a future eight-story low-income housing building near the assemblage’s northwest corner and a hotel. 

Renderings shared with the project continue an ongoing theme among developers who are quickly driving residential into an area that not long ago had none: The renderings show a Trax line running down 400 West.

This isn’t the first project to include the non-existent light-rail line. This one shows a stop between the Silos and Post District.

Indeed, while transit-oriented development in Utah is typically a density-follows-transit playbook, the developers in the Granary, Post and Silos are showing that transit might follow density this time around.

View looking northeast past the proposed Silo Park, near 568 S. 400 W. in Salt Lake City. A group of developers is proposing to build 286 residences in two buildings as part of a three-phase plan that would also include open space, a low-income housing building and a hotel. Rendering by MVE Partners.

The requests

The developers needed permission to build taller than the 60 feet of height that’s allowed by-right in the General Commercial (CG) zone. Another 30 feet is allowed in the CG zone if developers receive permission through the design review process.

The building fronting the open space would be 83 feet tall. The second building fronting 600 South would be 85 feet tall.

Buildings typically are required to have a frontage facing a public street, which won’t be the case for the building fronting Silo Park. The building will be accessible via two north/south and east/west midblock walkways crossing the block, which will be a public easement.

The interior of the building fronting 600 South won’t be accessible to pedestrians, as the Planning Commission agreed to allow the builders to not include any entrances on that street.

“I’m not against not having entrances,” said Amy Barry. “My problem is that even if we drive by this, we’re going to have a wall of windows with their blinds down.”

“Nobody’s going to walk along this road. They’re going to drive. And this is what they’re going to see is a bunch of blinds covering the windows,” Barry added. “I don’t see any interest in that. I don’t see how that’s an inviting visual experience.”

The builders said they weren’t including an entrance on that section because, as a road maintained by the Utah Department of Transportation, 600 South is a dangerous place for people inside and outside of cars. The architects instead focused on channeling foot traffic to the block’s interior, they said.

The commission will also allow the development to include awnings and balconies above 400 West that don’t meet the required setback.

Looking northeast from the south side of 600 South. The Silos would include a building fronting 600 South that is clad in brick. Rendering by MVE Partners.

More on MVE

The project is an extension of MVE’s ongoing work in the city. The firm is also responsible for most of the architecture in the Post District, which is nearing completion.

MVE also worked with Lowe on Dixon Place in Sugar House, 6th & Main in South Downtown and Sugar Alley, which burned down in a catastrophic fire in Sugar House last fall.

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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.