Southeast Market plans include reuse, gentle density and retail space along 9-Line

A longtime neighborhood grocery close to Liberty Park, since 1997 the Southeast Asian market, is getting a facelift instead of the wrecking ball.

Developer’s plans for 416 E. 900 South just submitted to the city include maintaining the front of the one-story structure built in 1941, adding a partial second-story with live/work units, and increased street front retail that will sit on part of the store’s surface parking lot.

The original OPS Grocery in 1941, along with S&M Drugs.

Over the last two years, owners successfully upzoned the property, which sits on the south side of the street bordering Denver St and 400 East. Kathia Dang, who also owns the corner where Manoli’s sits, as well as the Freshies restaurant at 356 E. 900 South, told Building Salt Lake in March 2022 that “Our plans all along remain to salvage what we can, our plan is to rehabilitate.”

Those plans have now met paper, and are remarkable in their efforts to re-use the original retail structure while adding residential and retail space.

The Context

900 South between Liberty Park and State St is a mixture of low-intensity commercial zoning (CN, RB, and now, with this rezone, CB), and residential zoning – RMF-30 and R-1.

The project, called Milk Block Market, is located in the orange CB section at bottom center.

The corridor has intensified in density and commercial activity near to State St, thanks largely to three developments by the Maven companies. Closer to Central City, near 300 East, the commercial zoning interspersed along the street intensified enough to allow a node to develop.

At 400 East, the same has happened. Just south of Pig in a Jelly Jar and Tea Grotto, The Milk Block Market project is ready for review by the Planning Commission. It likely hopes for an autumn hearing.

The Project

“The proposed project will restore the original brick front facade of the building and maintain portions of the building that are architecturally interesting such as the art deco corner marquee, steel bow truss structure, and interior exposed brick” writes the applicant in the project’s description.

On a .69 acre parcel, the building footprint will shrink ~1000 sf. Yet design review is required for the size of the building (11,644 sf) in CB zoning,

“The unsightly EIFS/stucco and patchwork window and door systems will be removed and upgraded to fit the architecture of the building” says the application.

“In addition to restoring the building, outdoor patios and landscape yards are planned along the 900 south (9-line) side of the building/project.” Take a look at the site plans, starting with current conditions:

The upper floor, an addition on the rear (south) and east of the building, will supply 4-5 live/work units combining for 5,162 sf of new living space. They will load from the parking lot on the building’s east.

That lot will shrink from 34 (BSL’s count) to 21 stalls. One reason is a 2000 sf “Future Commercial” building at the corner of Denver and 900 S.

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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.