Sugar House Hotel proposal moves forward

A 2011 Google Street view of the 1200 East block of Wilmington Avenue.
A 2011 Google Street view of the 1200 East block of Wilmington Avenue.

Just a few years ago, the stretch of Wilmington Avenue between Highland Drive and 1300 East was dominated by surface parking and a large vacant parcel.   The center of the block was a dead zone in one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Salt Lake.

While some surface parking remains, the block today is more vibrant and amenity rich.  The Wilmington Flats. development added over 200 residential units, a neighborhood bar and several popular eateries.  The Legacy Village development, directly across the street from Wilmington Gardens has topped out and will add 268 residential units and more ground floor commercial on Wilmington Ave.

Now the block is poised to get another urban amenity, a hotel.  On Thursday, the Salt Lake City Planning Commission approved a Planned Development and Conditional Site Design Review request for a Springhill Suites Hotel, a 125-room 6-story hotel on Wilmington Avenue in Sugar House.  The hotel is a collaboration with the Woodbury Corporation and property owners, the Dee’s Family.  Woodbury also developed Legacy Village and Wilmington Flats.

Legacy Village and Wilmington Gardens create the canyon effect on Wilmington Avenue as both projects are built up the street line and are taller than adjacent buildings. Photo by Isaac Riddle.
Legacy Village and Wilmington Gardens create a canyon effect on Wilmington Avenue as both projects are built up the street line and are taller than adjacent buildings. Photo by Isaac Riddle.

“Wilmington is buzzing,” said Judi Short, the land use chair for the Sugar House Community Council.  “The Wilmington Flats is very active, there are lots of cute little restaurants and shops in there and people going in and out late at night.”

The hotel will replace the surface lot directly east of the former Toys “R” Us.  The building will be 78,000 square feet and will utilize almost the entirety of the 0.67-acre parcel.  The project will include four floors of hotel rooms above a 2-story parking garage that will front Wilmington Ave and will be entrances on Wilmington and directly east of the building in the shopping center.

The hotel will include a patio and outdoor dining area and several surface lots directly east of the building.  Hotel amenities will include a pool and fitness center.

The developers requested an exception to the setback requirements and the ground floor use requirement for projects in the Sugar House Business District zone.   Becuase the property is sloped, the developers argue that it would be impossible to have ground floor uses on Wilmington Avenue without having to build lower than the sidewalk level, which they argue would defeat the purpose of the ground floor use requirement.

“We believe that it is the type of facility that really is going to generate the type of guests that would be very participatory in the other businesses and utilize the other services in Sugar House,”said Lynn Woodbury, the architecture director at Woodbury Corporation, of the Springhill Suites brand.

The site plan for the proposed Springhill Suites hotel. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.
The site plan for the proposed Springhill Suites hotel. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.

The project will add two pedestrian connections on Wilmington.  A 5-foot pedestrian walkway will separate the hotel from the Toys “R” Us building and connect Wilmington Avenue to the Sugar House Shopping Center.   Because of the slope, the 5-foot walkway will reach Wilmington via a stairway.   After feedback from the Sugar House Community Council, the developers have added an 8-foot wide pedestrian walkway at the eastern edge of the property that will provide an ADA accessible connection to the shopping center from Wilmington Avenue.

The Dees family plans to collaborate with the Woodbury Corporation to redevelop the 10-acre suburban-designed Sugar House Shopping Center directly south of Wilmington Avenue.  The family, which owns the shopping center, plans to wait several years before moving forward with plans to convert the center into a mixed-use urban node that will attempt to recreate the former street grid that existed before the shopping center was built.

As with the Sugarmont Apartments and Dixon Building, the developers will need to complete the pedestrian walkways before receiving a certificate of occupancy.

Rendering of the Springhill Suites. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.
Rendering of the Springhill Suites looking southeast on Wilmington Avenue. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.
Rendering of the east-facing facade of the Springhill Suites. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.
Rendering of the east-facing facade of the Springhill Suites. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.
Site plan of the Springhill Suites in Sugar House. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.
Site plan of the Springhill Suites in Sugar House. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.

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.