With a real estate market slowdown, there’s a threat that projects that had previously been approved are never constructed.
We reported this month that several projects throughout Salt Lake City that are permit-ready, several after receiving approval from the Planning Commission and City Council, are now for sale.
A handful of significant projects are underway, including the Worthington and Astra towers. But others have yet to break ground, leaving the question of whether skyline-changing buildings would be constructed.
Building Salt Lake reached out for updates on three projects Downtown. Here’s what we found out.
Main Street Apartments (Utah Theater)
Hines demolished the Utah Theater at 150 S. Main St. in April as part of its work to build a 31-story, 400-unit residential tower.
The demolition followed a battle over the fate of the 110-year-old theater, which also had space for other local businesses.
After years of back and forth with the city, Hines received the building for free on the condition that it provides 40 units that are affordable for people making between 60 and 80 percent of the area median income (or up to $65,550 a year for a couple). The company will also provide a publicly accessible space, which it has said will go on the top of a three-story parking garage.
A representative for the company confirmed that, despite not having submitted for building permits, Hines still plans to move ahead.
“Hines is very committed to this project,” the representative said. “We are still working through the design process, as well as permits. We hope eto have more to talk about in the coming months.”
In May, Hines received another year to begin its project through a process that extends the design review approval that it has already obtained from the city. Unless something changes, expect the project to submit for permits this winter, with construction following in the new year.
Hines is also behind a 22-story, 386,000-square-foot office tower at 477 S. Main, surplus land formerly owned by Salt Lake County.
The firm declined to provide much of an update on the Sundial Tower, though it pointed out that the commercial brokerage JLL was actively pre-leasing space within the project, a move that would help to determine market feasibility for the project.
“We are currently active in the pre-leasing process and have had interest thus far,” Hines said in the statement. “That’s all we can provide at the moment.”
The construction of Sundial would follow other significant office projects in the capital city that are sure to test the demand for class A office space Downtown.
JLL even previously noted the market was becoming bloated, with growing vacancy rates and rising sublease availability. A possible recession in coming months would throw another challenge onto the pile.
Between the Post District, Industry, 95 State, 6th and Main and other offerings in the Granary that are coming online each quarter, time will tell whether Sundial attracts enough interest to see the building constructed.
We first wrote about plans for Moda Luxe in 2018, when J. Fisher Companies proposed a nine-story, 220-unit apartment building at 250 S. 200 E.
That project has been through a journey, and it’s still not clear when it will end.
Next door, the State of Utah initially sought to construct a 10-story parking garage to service a two-story liquor store on Edison Street, and to provide a gift to a private developer who is planning a new building next door.
That garage would have been problematic for Moda Luxe, whose view would have been obstructed by a monolith to store private vehicles.
J. Fisher Companies has already cleared the land for construction, but hasn’t provided an update in years. When Building Salt Lake broke the news that the state would no longer build an egregiously large parking garage in the heart of the city, the company was delighted.
“This is great news,” Owen Fisher, managing partner at J. Fisher Companies wrote in an email to us at the time. After promising to provide an update on the status of the building in June, Fisher Co. hasn’t responded to repeated requests throughout the summer and fall.
The company still owns the land. But how long it will sit vacant remains a mystery.
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