Developers debut plans for historic Warm Springs building

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Aerial rendering of the southwest corner of the proposed Warm Springs Development. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.
Aerial rendering of the northwest corner of the proposed Warm Springs Development. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.

The Warm Springs Plunge building has had several lives.  The historic building on the 800 North block of 300 West has been both a bathhouse and a children’s museum and now is poised to become part of a large, mixed-use affordable housing development.

On Thursday, May 18, Woodbury Corporation, in collaboration with the Salt Lake City’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Division (HAND), will meet with the Historic Landmark Commission for a work session on plans to restore the Warm Springs building and construct a new seven-story residential building and four townhomes.

When it was built in 1921, the Warm Springs building was referred to as the Warm Springs Municipal Bath, a city-run bathhouse.  The city piped in hot sulfur water from nearby hot springs into several pools in the Warm Springs building.  In 1932, the city changed the building’s name to the Warm Springs Plunge, the name the building would carry until the baths closed in 1976.

Aerial rendering of the proposed Warm Springs Development. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.

Generation X and older Millennial residents will remember the Warm Springs building as the home of the Children’s Museum of Utah from 1983 to 2003 before museum the moved to the Gateway.

According to planning documents, Woodbury submitted a project proposal to HAND in 2016 with plans to connect a renovated Warm Springs building to new construction, 112-unit residential building.  The plan would have included both buildings sit above a subterranean parking structure.

After evaluating costs the developers decided that it would be best to separate the buildings.  Woodbury’s current plan for the Warm Springs building is to restore the historic structure for commercial use and build a 125-unit residential building directly east of the Warm Springs building with four attached townhomes directly south of the new residential building.

The Warm Springs building will remain relatively intact with the buildings west front entrance and north and south side entrances remaining.   When restored, Woodbury reps estimate the Warm Springs building will have around 38,000 square feet of leasable commercial space.  The developers opted for a commercial use as it would allow for more flexible floor plans that complement the building’s interior spaces.  While most of the building’s interior spaces will be retained and restored, the developers plan to fill the pool areas so that they can accommodate commercial tenants.

The residential building will consist of a two-story concrete podium and five floors of wood-framed residential units.  The units will be a mix of studio, one and two bedroom apartments.  As currently designed, the residential building will connect to the Warm Springs building via a landscaped, pedestrian plaza.  The pedestrian plaza will also connect the north and south sections of Warm Springs Park.  The current plans for the residential building include a third-floor courtyard above the parking podium with a fire pit, outdoor kitchen, bocce ball court, water feature and covered seating.

The four townhomes will each have two bedrooms and a two car garage.

The parking structure will be accessed from the north side of the project with surface parking on both the north and south ends of the Warm Springs building.

Since Thursday’s meeting the HLC will be a work session, the commission won’t be voting on the project but will instead give advice and guidance to the project’s architects on how to best restore the Warm Springs Plunge and build new construction that complements the historic structures.

Rendering of the west façade of the proposed Warm Springs Development. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.
About Isaac Riddle 521 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.
  • margaret2

    I work at Bish’s across the street and the city had said a few years ago they were going to build a community rec center there. Now I see it is worth more to sell it. They are shoving apartments in everywhere they can. That is a beautiful established green park that could have added pickle ball courts to back side and simple rec center with a new pool. That is what they proposed with all the new apartments going in down the street they thought it would be used. The north end of the park is all wild grasses and a marshy area in the spring because of the hot spring. I have no idea what they are thinking on this. When Bish’s rebuilt our office 3 years ago we had to put 84 pilings under the foundation so it wouldn’t sink again. We still have the cement foundation cracking in the office floor. The parking lot rises and falls during the wet season or whenever Tesoro is digging and disrupts the underground spring.
    We knew about the hotspring under the building because of anytime we replaced a slab in the warehouse we had to dig it out. It would fill with water. Every time. So when we tore down the office building. the architect didn’t tell the demolition crew and their machines sunk in the mud. I don’t know the official type of bucket scooper thing. They had to bring in a crane to get it out. to proceed. What is interesting is the fact the soil tests we had done didn’t say this the first time. When this happened the city had us redo the testing and found out we had to put the pilings to stabilize it to make it earthquake safe. But like I said the water table is so high the floor still cracks and the water comes up through the cracks in the warehouse. So I am so totally surprised at this but I guess not so much where there is a dollar to be made the city will sell. But the rec center would have worked and the north park of the park could have been fenced off for a dog park. It already has paths ways water and bathrooms.
    But then again the city is building a dog park on top of a tailings dump in Rose Park. We were told it was cleaned up. But instead it was capped and so that means (we were told) in April’s community council meeting that because it is just capped. No trees, shrubs, water or anything that requires a vehicle to drive on it. They said a fence and a type of road base is all it is going to be. 3 acres of gravel. They don’t even know how they are going to dump it on there because they are not allowed to use large dump trucks. So 3 acres of gravel with no water. Rosewood park is right next to it. That is where we run our dogs in the grass as we walk the sidewalk. So I ask why are they trying to build this park for 220,000 dollars.(info from parks dept) He said the city got the land for real cheap and what else would you do with contaminated ground but use it for dogs. Yeah he was real popular at the meeting. They want to tick off a request that the voters asked for. There is about an acre corner of Rosewood that nobody uses because it off to the side like a lump. grass, trees all it needs is a fence. done deal.
    All about ticking off a list.