South Downtown to get another big apartment project, testing city’s new ground-floor active use requirements

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In south Downtown, an area long marked by light-industrial uses, car lots, repair shops, and scattered local artisans and retailers, large residential projects are becoming prominent features of the neighborhood.

Locals Boyer Company have submitted design review plans for a two-building, 348-unit project between Main and West Temple on the south side of 800 South. Just to west is The Charli, the adaptive reuse and new construction building by CW Urban.

It is unclear if the project is in design review for only height exceptions in the D-2 zone, or also other qualities that stand out from a design perspective: a façade length on Richards Street that reaches 397 feet, and lack of ground-floor active uses, even along building’s main frontage, on 800 South.

Let’s take a look at the details of the proposal submitted just last week to the city.

Elliott North

The project’s 7-story, 91-foot north building at 29 West 800 South is a podium plus six. It will consist of studio (74), junior (56), one-bedroom (108) and two-bedroom (40) apartment homes – 278 in total. Its two levels of parking – one underground—will provide 318 stalls, for a 1.14:1 ratio. 78 of those will accommodate EVs.

Images courtesy AO Architects.

Elliott North’s site plan shows a leasing office, a lobby, and a 2000 sf retail space along 800 South. Along Richards, a long storage corridor lining the eastern edge of the parking garage occupies nearly the entire length of the building.

Instead of activation at the street front along Richards, AO Architects has designed a “series of wall canvases for local street artists.” Cognizant of the city’s limitations on blank walls, the project claims to be “creating a public space where people can come together to appreciate art, connect with others, and explore their city in new ways,” according to the developer’s narrative.

That wall is proposed to be well over a football field long.

Images courtesy AO Architects.

Whether design review by Planning staff and the Planning Commission will exempt the project from the recently-adopted ground floor activation requirements will be also seen. City code Chapter 21A.37.050.A.1 “requires a portion of the length [80% in D-2] of a new principal building include active uses allowed in the zoning district.”  

“Active uses” are defined as “those that support the vibrancy and usability of the public realm adjacent to a building, and encourage walk-in traffic.” The code mentions specifically “retail establishments, retail services, civic spaces (theaters, museums, etc.), restaurants, bars, art and craft studios, and other uses determined to be substantially similar.”

Elliott South

At 846 S Richards, immediately south of the Charli, the much smaller south building, also seven stories, will reach 81 feet and provide two levels of podium parking.

Its 60 apartments are split between 27 one-bedroom and 33 two-bedroom homes. Those 60 units in total will be parked with 93 stalls, a 1.55:1 ratio. 23 EV stalls and 47 bike spots are also in the mix.

Both buildings have third-floor amenity gardens, with a pool included in plans for the north building.

Images courtesy AO Architects.

The Elliott

Owner: Boyer Company

Residential Architects: AO Architects

Landscape Architects: AO Architects

Civil Engineers: CIR Engineering and Surveying

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Posted by Luke Garrott

Luke Garrott, PhD, has published in The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, and written features for the Salt Lake City Weekly City Guide and The West View. A former two-term councilman in Salt Lake City's District 4, he lives in Downtown Salt Lake City and grew up in the Chicago area.