Revised Liberty Square project moving forward

Revised rendering of the south and east facing buildings in the Liberty Square development as designed by Prescott Muir Architects. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.

The Liberty Square development has been through several renditions, including multiple redesigns and reducing the project from a proposed four-story, 135-unit residential building to a 53-unit, townhome-style rental project.  But due to issues with fire code requirements, the developers, Cowboy Partners, returned to the Historic Landmark Commission (HLC) for approval to build at the 600 East block of 500 South.

On Thursday, May 3, The HLC approved with conditions the developer’s updated design, almost a year since they originally approved the new construction and alterations request for Cowboy Partners to build 47 townhome-style residential units and six apartment units in the Ensign Floral Building, a contributing structure in the Central City Historic District on 600 East.

Cowboy has kept most the basic components of the previously approved design in the revised proposal with eight three-story, townhome-style buildings and the adaptive reuse of the Ensign Floral Building.  But to better accommodate aerial fire apparatus access to the center of the property, several buildings needed to be relocated.

Despite the issues, the revised design will have better street engagement on Green Street.  The original plan called for surface parking stalls to front Green Street.  Instead, a five-unit building will replace the stalls on Green Street and the stalls will move the center of the property.

Additionally, the developers will swap a previously proposed four-unit building that would have fronted Green Street with a five-unit building that would have occupied the center of the property so that the larger building fronts the street and the smaller building opens up more space at the property’s center.

Developers also needed to remove a proposed landscaped median that would have impeded truck access.  Instead, the project will have a plaza-style outdoor tenant space that will be accessible to the aerial fire apparatus.

According to planning documents, each townhome will be three stories with a garage on the ground floor, living room and kitchen on the second floor and two bedrooms on the third floor.  The homes will include balconies on both the second and third floors.

The largest building will front 500 South and will have 11 residential units and the leasing office.

The developers are in the final stages of the building permit process.  Before construction can begin crews will have to demolish five small vacant commercial and warehouse structures that front Green Street and 500 South.

The previous (left) and revised (right) site plans for Liberty Square. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.
Revised rendering of the Liberty Square development as designed by Prescott Muir Architects. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.

Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at