Rezoning of 21st and 21st proposed for Sugar House

A member of the 21 and 21 development team speaks to Sugar House residents at Dillworth Elementary. Photo by Isaac Riddle.
A member of the 21st and 21st development team speaks to Sugar House residents at Dilworth Elementary. Photo by Isaac Riddle.

Contentious meetings are fast becoming the norm in Sugar House as the growing popularity of the neighborhood is a concern to some members of the community.  People want to move to Sugar House, and the neighborhood is at odds with itself on how to accommodate the increased demand for housing.

The Sugar House Community Council hosted a community meeting on Tuesday at Dilworth Elementary School to discuss rezoning the intersection of 2100 South and 2100 East, to make way for larger mixed-use developments.

Developer Thomas Hulbert from ThomasFox Properties wants to capitalize on Sugar House’s growth and build a large mixed-use project on the north-east corner of 2100 South and 2100 East.  Hulbert and his team presented his plans to the few hundred residents in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting.

This project is still in the conceptual phase.  There has yet to be any renderings or official proposals from his development team, yet Hulbert seemed optimistic that the project will have a short timeline.

“We would like to build next summer and construction would take two years,” Hulbert told the crowd.

Projects that increase neighborhood density have been a hard sell to Sugar House residents.  But Hulbert has a unique selling point, he hopes will build community support for his project: the area is contaminated.

“Contamination on the site is usually a huge stumbling block to developers,” said Hulbert.  “We would like to take care it.”

In exchange for cleaning up the site, Hulbert wants to build higher than is currently allowed under the zoning code.  The site for the proposed project is currently zoned community business which allows for developments up to 30 feet in height.  The developer proposes mostly one-bedroom units with underground parking and ground-floor retail and restaurant space.

Many residents voiced concerns about affordable housing being included in the project.  While the developers didn’t promise that there wouldn’t be any affordable housing, they did state that they currently intend all units to be available at market rate.

Most of the growth has focused on the Sugar House Business District, which welcomed the S-Line streetcar last December and will have nearly 600 residential units added to the housing inventory over the next few months.

Proposed zoning changes that would allow taller buildings near the S-Line streetcar route met resistance from the community earlier this spring.  City council will vote on zoning changes along the streetcar line at a later date.

Demand for new housing will continue to grow in Sugar House as more and more residents seek out walkable neighborhoods with urban amenities.   Sugar House will become more dense as demand grows, but residents have the opportunity to use their influence to ensure that any new growth is effectuated smartly and integrates well with the community.

If the developers of the proposed project at 21st and 21st include community input in all facets of the design, future developers could face less resistance from residents as Sugar House continues to grow.

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 isaac@buildingsaltlake.com.