Two ‘deeply affordable’ housing projects make their way to the SLC Planning Commission

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A rare east-side affordable housing project offering 88 units in a converted medical office + clinic building is seeking Planning Commission blessing this week, on the heels of a 16-unit permanent supporting housing project on S. Main that the commission approved earlier in the month.

At 1060 East 100 South, the Victory Heights project is a partnership between Brandon Blaser’s BCG Arc Fund, Volunteers of America, and Chris Parker’s Giv Group. A federal tax-credit (LIHTC) development that also has funding from local and state sources, it is seeking Planned Development approval for an increase in density and a reduction in setbacks currently limited by its RMF-45 zoning, and a five-foot height allowance.

Two-story Alliance House, at 1805 S. Main, will demolish a small 9-unit motel. It’s owned by the local nonprofit of the same name, located at 1724 S. Main, and currently serves the same population as the new development will. When built, 16 new units will greet people with chronic mental illness.

Let’s take a closer look at both projects.

Victory Heights

Previously serving as clinics and offices built in 1956 and most recently called Medical Towers, the new designs for 1060 E 100 S add a six-story tower on the western edge of the parcel, where a current carport and second-story addition exists. Developers are asking for a five-foot height increase on that edge of the project to house mechanical functions on the new structure’s roof. The new development will fit entirely on the footprint of the existing structures.

Images courtesy Google and Architecture Belgique.

Adjustments are also being requested for density and setbacks. The parcel is zoned RMF-45, which if included in the RMF-30 re-write, would likely allow the density and reduced setbacks needed by the developers–without a lengthy planning department review process.

We asked Planning Director Nick Norris if this project would likely have to undergo Planned Development approval if the transformational infill changes implemented in RMF-30 were applied to RMF-45.

Contrary to our expectations (which were set by Norris in early public discussions on the RMF changes) he responded, “We don’t have density changes to the RMF-45 zone drafted, so we cannot answer that question.”

Images courtesy Architecture Belgique.

The .85 acre parcel will provide a 104 units/acre density. In their application, developers state “Due to the high cost of land in this neighborhood, the only financially viable way to provide affordable housing at this location is by increasing the number of residential units to the 88 that are proposed.”

Parking will be contained within Its current parking structure on ground and -1 levels, which supplies 87 stalls. 13 outdoor surface stalls will also be retained, even though parking requirements from the city stand at 44, .5 per unit.

50 bike stalls will be provided, far exceeding the city’s required 18. The minimum required electric vehicle charging stalls-four-will be built.

All the project’s rents will be offered at or below 30% of a person’s income making 50% AMI. 10 units will be set aside for people making 25% or less AMI.

The local community council, East Central, officially expressed support of the project. For years opposed to the expansion of medical clinics and business uses in the neighborhood, the ECCC was an important actor in getting the Medical Towers property re-zoned to residential so it became a non-conforming use.

Alliance House

Cowboy Partners is acting as the owner’s representative in a Planned Development application, approved earlier this month, that is working with CC Commercial Corridor zoning at 1805 S. Main.

The existing structure, dated to 1947, is a small motel that the owner, Alliance House, has converted into 9 units of permanent supportive housing for people with chronic mental illness.

Planned Developed review is required by the city so that the development can reduce minimum lot width and rear setback requirements, as well as have two principle buildings, one that doesn’t face the street.

Images courtesy SLC Planning, Cowboy Partners, and Think Architecture.

The Ballpark Community Council expressed support, according to the city. Salt Lake County Behavioral Health is also listed by Alliance House as a partner.

The development’s modest density and height (two stories) in lower Main Street’s polyglot land use environment are unlikely to stir aesthetic anxieties.

The population served by the development will be individuals making “as low as 0% of the area median income (AMI),” according the Planning’s staff report.

Email Luke Garrott

Interested in seeing where developers are proposing and building new apartments in Salt Lake, or just want to support a local source of news on what’s happening in your neighborhood? Subscribe to Building Salt Lake.

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.