A pair of developments aim to continue the transformation of office buildings into housing near Trolley Square, while taking advantage of high-density zoning near the TRAX line on 400 South.
The latest proposal would replace a housewares store at 424 S. 700 E. with 249 residences in a six-story building known as the five-over-one, or apartments above, mostly ground-floor parking. pavement.
The developers believe they meet enough zoning code requirements to allow them to get to work quickly, and they have already applied for a demolition permit for the existing building.
The replaced building is in the Central City Historic District, but is not considered a contributing structure. This means it can be demolished with a slightly simple process.
With luxury student accommodation on offer immediately to the south, the area north of Trolley Square could see the addition of nearly 500 additional residences and over 900 rooms once the two projects are completed.
This is in addition to hundreds of other residences that have recently been completed within a block in either direction of the site, and thousands more along 400 South.
Directly across 700 East from the latest proposed development, another 267 residential units have been added in recent years on Liberty Boulevard. To the west, on 500 South and on the same block as the new proposal, another 135 rental units in Liberty Square have recently been completed.
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About half of the units in the new building at 700 East would be one-bedroom units. About a third would be studios, and the rest a mix of two and three bedrooms.
A nod to its proximity to public transit, the new project would provide 196 off-street parking spaces, or 0.77 parking spaces for each unit. The parking areas are largely hidden from view on the street and inside the building. Rather than having public spaces like retail on the ground floor, the live work units and building lobby/rental space will face 700 East and 400 South.
The development is led by Wright Development Groupwhich built a similar all-residential project known as Block 44 at 400 S. 400 E., as well as a handful of suburban-style retail and office buildings along the Wasatch Front.
There are many complaints about the five-over-one single-use residential building style that now lines much of the 400 South in this area.
But one thing is clear: the city has accomplished what it set out to do by rezoning the immediate area within walking distance of public transit with zoning that allows for high-density homes that have attracted tenants.
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- Studio: 75 (average 550 square feet)
- One bed: 124 (average 680 square feet)
- Two beds: 29 (1,120 square feet on average)
- Three beds: 14 (1,380 square feet on average)
- Live/Work: 7 (average 810 square feet)
- Total: 249
- Developer: Wright Development Group
- Architect: Envision Architecture Group
The new buildings in the area are examples of land uses that seem slightly incompatible with the streets on which the new buildings sit.
Like most new housing along the 400 South Corridor, 700 East Apartments will front onto a state-owned surface highway. SR-71, also known as 700 East, provides vehicles with nine lanes of space.
For its part, 400 South is also known as SR-186 and has seven lanes of high-speed automobile traffic on its way to the University of Utah before turning into Foothill Drive and merging with the freeway near the southeast corner of town.
But this surface highway provides transit space to popular destinations, employment centers, university and downtown.
Despite the layout of the streets in the immediate area, it is rich in destinations that make it one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Salt Lake City.
Under Transit Station Area (TSA) zoning rules, projects are given grades for meeting a variety of tiered guidelines, such as adding density near transit, the replacement of non-compliant buildings and the provision of bicycle storage.
Developers go through a checklist and self-assess their own compliance with the guidelines. This is then reviewed and revised by City Planning Division staff. Projects with more than 125 points on the checklist as determined by staff can skip a Planning Commission appearance, a process that could add months to the development process.
Wright Development estimates that the building has 177 points. Staff will review.
Email Taylor Anderson
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