Cowboy seeks input from HLC on proposed project

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Rendering of the previously approved design of the Liberty Square Apartments as designed by Architectural Nexus. Image courtesy Salt Lake City Planning Division.
The former Ensign Floral Building as seen from 600 East. Photo by Isaac Riddle.
The former Ensign Floral Building as seen from 600 East. Photo by Isaac Riddle.

Developers are discovering that meeting the expectations of the Historic Landmark Commission (HLC) is not guaranteed.  Garbett Homes went before the HLC four consecutive times before the Commission approved the design and new construction for the Hardison Apartments at the intersection of 500 East and South Temple.

The HLC tabled a project by prolific developer, Cowboy Partners, last October.   Commission members requested that the developers return with more detailed architectural plans.  Nearly eight months later, the developers are returning to the HLC on Thursday for a work session that will allow Commission members to give feedback and guidance to the project’s architect, Douglas Thimm of Arch Nexus.

An aerial map view of the site area for the Liberty Square Apartments. The area that will include new construction is outlined in red. Image courtesy Salt Lake Planning Division.
An aerial map view of the site area for the Liberty Square Apartments. The area that will include new construction is outlined in red. Image courtesy Salt Lake Planning Division.

Cowboy plans to build the Liberty Square Apartments, near the 500 South and 600 East intersection.  The four-story project includes 135 residential units and will front both 600 East and 500 South.

The project site consists of several buildings, including the Ensign Floral Building on 600 East.  All but the Ensign Floral Building will be demolished to make way for new construction.  The floral building will be preserved and integrated in the project.

Developers need approvals for changes to the Floral Ensign Building and for new construction because the project is in the Central City Local Historic District.

According to planning documents, the work session does not guarantee approval and the developers will need to return to the HLC for final approvals before construction can begin.  Planning staff also stated that the application is incomplete and the developers will need to submit more detailed elevation, roof and floor plans and provide clarification on the materials that will be used.

Planning staff is treating the updated design as a new project because staff feel that the new design differs significantly from the original design presented in October.  The original design appeared to have a brick and stucco exterior with brown and beige colors.  According to the project’s architects the new design “takes a cue from the Ensign Floral Building’s mid-century roots” with a mid-century mixed with “modern aesthetic” and uses a different color palette with orange, white and a darker brown.

Cowboy plans to maximize the lot size with zero setbacks on both 500 South and Green Street.  A parking structure will separate the residential building from the Trader Joe’s and Staples to the north.  The residential building will wrap around an inner courtyard.  The developers plan to include a sidewalk along Green Street to provide a mid-block pedestrian connection.

If the HLC decides to approve the project at a future meeting, Liberty Square would be Cowboy’s third residential project under construction in Salt Lake City.  Construction is winding down on the Liberty Crest Apartments, a 177-unit development near the intersection of 200 South and 200 East.  While construction is starting on the Liberty Boulevard Apartments, a four-story 267 unit residential mixed used development near the 400 South and 700 East intersection.

Rendering of Liberty Square seen from 500 South and Green Street. Image courtesy of City planning documents.
Original rendering of Liberty Square seen from 500 South and Green Street. Image courtesy of City planning documents.
About Isaac Riddle 594 Articles
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.
  • sixranges

    “Planning staff is treating the updated design as a new project because staff feel that the new design differs significantly from the original design presented in October. The original design appeared to have a brick and stucco exterior with brown and beige colors.”

    Let’s hope the HLC will embrace the new design and put a stop to the Beige Revolution.

  • Matt Miller

    Are you sure you haven’t mixed up the original and updated renderings? As is, the former looks like a far superior design.