The city’s former public safety building site at 200 South and 300 East is seeking developers again

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The City-owned, mid-century modern, nine-story office tower on 300 East and 200 South in east Downtown that served as the headquarters for SLC Police and Fire from 1979-2014 is again out for bid.

The offering at 315 E 200 S includes the Northwest Pipeline Building, completed in 1958, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The parcel assemblage is 2.42 acres and resides on R-MU zoning in the highly-desirable east Downtown neighborhood.

A previous 2015 Request for Qualifications (RFQ), authored by the Ralph Becker Administration (2008-16) ended in a selection process won by Cowboy Partners and Form Development. Their plans, called Violin School Commons (for the violin school and shop across the street), were approved by the Planning Commission in late 2017.

Those plans included the Magnolia, at 165 S 300 E, the only part of the project to get the go-ahead. The permanent supportive housing project was completed by Cowboy in 2021 and is owned and operated by the local non-profit Shelter the Homeless.

Cowboy Partners had their award rescinded during the Jackie Biskupski Administration (2016-2020).

Since moving its public safety administration functions into new digs adjacent to Library Square in 2014, the City has struggled to secure the 200 South property from unwanted uses, mainly from unsheltered people.

Let’s look at the highlights of the RFQ released this week. Here’s a link to the document.

City wants to maintain equity in the deal

The Mendenhall RFQ establishes that the city is interested in maintaining some ownership in the project, emphasizing the “City’s priority to achieve the highest economic return for the City while balancing the implementation of public benefits, and to maintain a long-term interest in the Property for revenue sharing opportunities.”

Joint venture, partnership, various land-lease options will be on the table. Land sale is also mentioned, but it seems unlikely given the tenor of the document.

Selection criteria

First, it’s obvious that the Northwest Pipeline building stays. The RFQ notes that since it’s on the National Register, it “creates opportunities for the developer to pursue historic tax credits in addition to other applicable incentives that could apply to the rehabilitation of the building.”

In addition to typical RFQ guidelines, like team members, team experience, and financial capacity, the city wants potential development teams to address equity and inclusion.

The RFQ offers this definition of its equity and inclusion priority: “acknowledging and addressing historic and current disparities experienced by our residents, employees, businesses, neighborhoods, and visitors. Salt Lake City provides access to resources and opportunities that support everyone in overcoming barriers to their success so that our community today, and generations tomorrow, can thrive.”

Process

The city procurement process will be conducted in two stages. First, RFQ responses are due to the Department of Community and Neighborhoods by October 16, 2023. A group will be selected from those applicants to submit full proposals at later date.

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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.