Texas developer picks up data center in East Downtown with plans for two new high-rises

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After initial plans to retrofit a hulking data center at 205 E. 200 S. fell through, a Texas-based real estate group paid $19.7 million to pick up the building with plans to demolish it and build a skyscraper in East Downtown.

Dart Interests, based in Dallas, picked up its first Utah property from Unico Properties. Unico initially planned to turn the data center into a unique residential building with large units before backing down under the weight of high construction costs and the price of financing.

While plans are still underway, the site is within Downtown D-1 zoning, meaning the new owner could demolish the existing structure and build as tall as they’d like.

“We like its proximity to major employers and the various goods and services on offer throughout the CBD, including City Creek and the Harmons grocery store,” a spokesman told us. “Work has already begun to prepare the 2.4-acre site for demolition and development. 

“While the ultimate design still needs to be finalized, we anticipate a mixed use development that will conform to the underlying D1 zoning,” the spokesman said. 

Unico previously planned to convert the building into 400 new rental units with 10,000 square feet of retail in a building that would have been unique in the market for a number of reasons. But the company backed out of the project and opted to sell it without explaining why.

Dart specializes in mixed-use projects, hospitality, commercial and residential. The group has satellite offices in Orlando, Charlotte, Denver and Salt Lake City, and has done business in 10 states. 

The sale of the 305,000-square-foot building was represented by Cushman & Wakefield, which said Dart plans to build two new high-rise apartment buildings.

“This former ‘Data Center’ site is one of the last remaining D1 zoned development sites in the Salt Lake City CBD,” Cushman & Wakefield Vice Chair Kip Paul said in a statement. “The environmental remediation will take one year at which point the 305,000-sf building will be demolished. The Buyer plans to develop two high rise apartment projects as warranted by market conditions.”

Buildings within the D-1 zone must be at least 100 feet tall and can be built up to 375 feet by-right under recent city building height changes

Dart representatives told us they plan to become more active in Salt Lake City, starting with the data center site.

“This is Dart Interests’ first investment in Salt Lake City and we are very bullish on Utah,” a Dart spokesperson told us. “We chose to invest here based on the state’s strong demographics, low unemployment and view Utah as business and development friendly.”

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Posted by Taylor Anderson

Taylor Anderson grew up near Chicago and made his way West to study journalism at the University of Montana. He's been a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune, Bend Bulletin and Salt Lake Tribune. A move from Portland, Oregon, to Salt Lake City opened his eyes to the importance of good urban design for building strong neighborhoods. He lives on the border of the Liberty Wells and Ballpark neighborhoods.