RDA approves extension for State Street Plaza project

Rendering of the State Street Plaza.
Rendering of the State Street Plaza.

The State Street Plaza project has been given a lifeline.  On Tuesday, the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake (RDA) granted forbearance to the original development agreement between the agency and the plaza developers.  The forbearance will extend the loan-guarantee timetable and allow the developers to continue construction even though they have fallen out of compliance according to the original terms of the initial agreement established with the RDA.

The La Porte Group, officially broke ground on the project, at 250 South State Street, in May of 2012.  In the nearly three year since, financing, design and structural issues have caused construction to repeatedly stall.  Since groundbreaking, construction costs have increased from $32 million to $52 million.

The development gained momentum this summer when Ben Logue, the president of the La Porte Group,  was able to secure new funding and brought on Greg Walker and Jarod Hall to redesign each of the project’s 180 residential units.

According to Hall, there are 40 different unit types, each with a unique floor plan.  Walker and Hall had to redesign the floor plans of each unit to create more a more modern design with an open floor plan.  The units will have an industrial loft look with concrete floors and exposed duct work.

Of the project’s 180 units, 136 will be income-restricted while the remaining 44 units will be market rate.  The residential units will range form studios to four-bedrooms.

The 10-story project will include ground floor retail, a reconstructed Rex Theater, a pedestrian plaza and a mid-block walkway that cuts under the main building connecting State Street to Floral and Edison Streets

Under the original agreement the State Street Plaza was to be completed by November 2014.  The RDA acknowledged that defaulting on the agreement (taking the project away from the La Porte Group) could cause the unique property to remain vacant for an extended period of time.

Under the new terms the developers will need to submit proof of financing, a revised budget and updated contracts to the RDA by April with the goal of finishing the development by the end of the year.

The RDA and city leaders have voiced their support to see the State Street Plaza completed.  The project is two blocks from the City Creek Center and a block from the under-construction Utah Performing Arts Center and will bring new residents downtown.

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.