In Pictures: downtown adjacent affordable housing underway

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Archived photo of the 9th East Lofts at Bennion Plaza as seen from 900 East. The Lofts include 68 affordable residential units. Photo by Isaac Riddle.

Affordable housing has dominated the local news cycle this week after the Salt Lake City Council acting as the Redevelopment Agency Board of Salt Lake voted Tuesday to allocate $21 million for housing for various income levels and $11.5 million to purchase sites for the proposed four new homeless resource centers.

“This was born out of a desire to bridge the market gap in affordable housing development in other parts of the city beyond the west side. It has evolved into the largest single allocation of funds in the recent history of our city for growing housing citywide,” said City Councilmember, Erin Mendenhall in a statement.

City officials estimate that the city lacks 7,500 affordable housing units, that City Council argues, makes housing in the city unattainable for many who work here and wish to live here.

The Board identified the funding from the current budget and past years leftover funds from other RDA projects.

Despite the residential construction boom, supply is not keeping up with demand.  The city has a rental vacancy rate of 2.9 percent and rents have been some of the fastest rising in the country.

Building Salt Lake estimates that there are around 3,000 units actively under construction, with over 1,000 additional units nearly shovel ready.  There are two projects under construction that will add 342 affordable housing units to the market.  The projects: the 9th East Lofts at Bennion Plaza and the 616 Lofts will primarily provide workforce units, housing reserved for residents earning between 60 to 80 percent of the Area Median Income.

Both projects will not only provide affordable units but are located in high-access transit areas.  The 616 Lofts is along the 200 bus route, a high-frequency route (buses routes that run in at least 15-minute intervals) that runs north-south and State Street, and is just over a block from the Courthouse TRAX Stations.  The 9th East Lofts is adjacent to the 209 bus route, a high-frequency route that runs north-south on 900 East before taking South Temple to Downtown.  The 9th East Lofts is less than half a block from the 900 East TRAX Station.

The six-story 9th East Lofts is framed out and will include 68 units, ground floor retail and a pedestrian plaza on the 400 South block of 900 East.

Framing has recently started on the six-story 616 Lofts on the 600 South block of State Street.  The 616 Lofts will have 274 units.

The city has two other projects in the planning stages that will add more affordable housing.  In December, the city selected Cowboy Partners and Form Development as the team to redevelop the Historic Northwest Pipeline building (the former Public Safety Building) at the intersection of 200 South and 300 East.  The 248-unit project will include a mix of affordable and market-rate residential units, the construction of two new residential buildings and the renovation of the pipeline building.

The city also plans to develop the property surrounding the Public Safety Complex into a mixed-use development with an affordable housing component.

9th East Lofts at Bennion Plaza:

Rendering of the 9th East Lofts at Bennion Plaza. Courtesy Method Studio.
Rendering of the 9th East Lofts at Bennion Plaza. Courtesy Method Studio.
The 9th East Lofts at Bennion Plaza as seen from 900 East. Photo by Isaac Riddle.
The 9th East Lofts at Bennion Plaza as seen from 900 East. Photo by Isaac Riddle.

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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.