Updated South Temple project fails to impress Landmark Commission

Updated renderings of the Hardison Apartments. Image courtesy Salt Lake City Planning Division.
Updated renderings of the Hardison Apartments. Image courtesy Salt Lake City Planning Division.

Despite presenting a modified design, the developers of the Hardison Apartments, a proposed mixed-use development at the intersection of 500 East and South Temple, will have to reevaluate their plans for the south temple lot.  During its January meeting, the Historic Landmark Commission denied a petition from Garbett Homes, the project’s developers.

The developers were requesting a special exception to the required rear-yard setbacks, height restrictions and approval to build in the South Temple Local Historic District, the stretch of South Temple between 300 East and University Avenue.

This was the second time in two months that the developers went before the commission.  Developers went before the HLC last month, with the commission tabling the project to a future meeting after the commission requested several design changes including materials, scale and street engagement.  In both meetings, commission members were concerned about the building’s scale and building materials.

The project’s architects, CRSA, made adjustments to the design based on feedback from the December commission meeting.  Architects altered the design of the building from a “U” shape to more an “H” shape which city planners noted fit more into the neighborhood and reduced the building’s scale along South Temple.  Architects also increased the ground floor commercial space, which was to front South Temple, by extending it further south on 500 East.

The project’s proposed height remained unchanged at six floors with five floors of residential above ground floor parking and commercial space.  As proposed, the project includes 166 units that consist of mostly one-bedroom units with some studios and two-bedroom units available.  Plans for the parking structure consist of 212 stalls on three floors tucked behind ground-floor commercial and two floors of residential.

Developers planned to include a courtyard on the second level and a rooftop terrace on the fourth floor, both facing the street.  The architect’s original design had both amenities located at the project’s center with residential units fronting the open space.  Planners requested that these amenities front the street level to reduce the building’s scale and make the project interact more at the street level.

The project is zoned R-MU, residential mixed-use, which allows for a maximum height of 75 feet.  Because the project is on a slope, the south end of the building reaches a height of 82 feet from ground level.  Developers also needed a height variance for two stairways and an ADA accessible ramp that exceed height limits in the rear-yard setback.

The developers can appeal the commission’s decision or reapply with new designs.  Even if the developers don’t need zoning variances, approval will still be needed from the commission to build in the South Temple Local Historic District.

Rendering of the Hardison Apartments. Image by CRSA Architecture..
Previous rendering of the Hardison Apartments. Image by CRSA Architecture..

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.