Developer submits updated plans for mixed-use Trolley Square project

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A preliminary rendering of the proposed Trolley Square mixed-use development as seen looking south on 600 South. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.
A preliminary aerial rendering of the proposed Trolley Square mixed-use development looking north towards Trolley Square. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.
A preliminary aerial rendering of the proposed Trolley Square mixed-use development looking north towards Trolley Square. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.

Uncertainty influenced a lot of the neighbor pushback that developer and owner of the Trolley Square shopping center, Khosrow Semnani, has received over his request to rezone most of the block directly south of the historic Trolley Square.

After two favorable recommendations from the Salt Lake City Planning Commission on the zoning amendment, the developer is ready to move forward with more detailed plans to replace three single-family homes and a large surface parking lot with a mixed-use development.

In preparation for a December 8th work session with the Historic Landmark Commission (HLC), the developer has submitted preliminary site plans for the 3.5-acre parcel on the 600 South block of 700 East. Under the current proposal, the developers plan to build six buildings and possibly relocate one or two of the site’s three historic homes to the south end of the site.

Three of the buildings would front 600 South, with two buildings fronting a midblock street and one building fronting 700 East.

According to planning documents the buildings are designed to complement Trolley Square.  The two most prominent buildings are designed after the work of Richard K.A. Kletting, the architect that designed the Utah State Capitol, the Old Saltaire Resort Pavilion and the Utah Exposition Building that once stood where Trolley Square is now.

The preliminary site plan for the proposed Trolley Square mixed-use development. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.
The preliminary site plan for the proposed Trolley Square mixed-use development. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.

The two most prominent towers, referred to as Buildings A and B, are designed to resemble the Utah Exposition Building and will be four stories each and will front 600 South directly south of Trolley Square.  The two buildings will three floors of residential apartments above ground floor commercial space, including a potential boutique hotel.

The building that will front 700 East, referred to as Building C, will be four-stories and all residential.  Buildings A, B and C will build up to the property line on 600 South and 700 East respectively.

Buildings D and E will be midblock and accessed from an internal street connecting 600 South to 700 East.  Building D will be five stories and all residential.  The building front the internal street and Ely Place, a midblock street that connects to 700 East.  Building E will be four stories with two floors of parking below two floors of residential apartments.  Both buildings will step back 10 feet at the third floor to reduce the scale of the building.  The buildings will also have setbacks from the property line to reduce impact to adjacent properties.

The sixth building, Building F will not abut any of the other buildings.  Building F is proposed for the 0.27-acre parcel at the southeast corner of the 600 S and 600 East intersection.  Building F will be a four-story apartment building with two floors of parking and two floors of residential.  The parcel for Building F will not be included in the proposed rezone and will be built under its current zoning.

As currently designed, the Trolley Square mixed-use development will essentially break up the block into four smaller blocks with two proposed new throughways connecting 600 South to 700 East and Ely Place and Sego Avenue.  The new throughways will include pedestrian walkways on both sides of the street, providing multiple pedestrian access points to 700 East and 600 South.

Semnani still needs approval from City Council for his requested zoning amendment.  The developer wants to change the zoning for most of the parcels from Multi-Family Residential District (RMF-45) to Form Based Urban Neighborhood District (FB-UN2) which will allow heights up to 50 feet and eliminate the need for setbacks from the property line.

Since he first announced plans to redevelop the block, Semnani has argued that adding more residential to the area is critical to the health of Trolley Square which has struggled to remain financially viable for years.  Semnani purchased the mall after it fell into receivership in 2013.

There is no mention in available planning documents if Semnani’s proposal will include affordable housing, but in previous meetings with neighbors, Semnani has stated his proposed mixed-use project will include an affordable housing component.

Semnani has yet to make public any total unit counts as the designs are still preliminary. Next week’s work session will allow the HLC to give feedback to developers as they finalize their design.  Neighbors will still have the opportunity to provide feedback as the developers will need to return to the HLC for a public hearing and final approval for new construction in a historic district.  The Planning Division will also host an open house on Thursday, December 15 at 5:30 pm at the City and County building.  The developers also need to go before City Council for final approval of the zoning amendment before construction permits can be issued.

A preliminary rendering of the proposed Trolley Square mixed-use development as seen looking south on 600 South. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.
A preliminary rendering of the proposed Trolley Square mixed-use development as seen looking south on 600 South. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.
A preliminary aerial rendering of the proposed Trolley Square mixed-use development looking east towards downtown from 700 East. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.
A preliminary aerial rendering of the proposed Trolley Square mixed-use development looking east towards downtown from 700 East. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.
About Isaac Riddle 568 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.
  • Matt Miller

    The buildings are ugly due to insufficient articulation of the building mass. They are just big boxes with fenestration. No balconies.

  • sixranges

    They appear to massing models at this point. They are only at the rezone stage – they perhaps are awaiting input from the HLC and other stakeholders before final design is executed.

  • Matt Miller

    The planted trees on the balcony are asinine. Buildings have no relation to the house on the corner.