Commission approves extension for large downtown project

Rendering of the first phase of the Block 67 development looking east from 300 West.

Developers, the Ritchie Group have ambitious plans to convert the 100 South block of 300 West into one of the city’s most vibrant downtown blocks but have hit some bumps that have delayed construction.  On Wednesday, the Salt Lake City Planning Commission approved an extension request of a previously approved Conditional Building and Site Design Review (CBSDR) and conditional use for the first phase of the proposed Block 67 development.  With the extension, the developers will have a year to secure building permits.

Conceptual rendering of both phases of the Block 67 development.

The first phase will consist of two 11-story buildings at the northwest corner of the block.  In total both phases will include at least five buildings on 6.45 acres at the northwest and southeast corners of the block, replacing the Royal Wood Plaza building, a parking structure and a surface parking lot.

The developers will break up the large project into four smaller blocks via a curved throughway street that will connect 300 West to 200 South.

The approved first phase will focus on the redevelopment of Blocks A and B at the block’s northwest corner and will include two mixed-used buildings that consist of a mixed-use residential building and a double-branded hotel building.

The residential building will occupy the corner with frontage on both 100 South and 300 West. The residential building will have around 230 units on the top ten floors and over 12,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space and subterranean parking.

The hotel building will house two hotel brands, Aloft and Element.  Both brands are under the Starwood Hotels group which was recently purchased by Marriott International Inc.  The hotel building will have about 271 rooms with a cafe and deli on the ground floor and a rooftop bar.

Map of the four proposed blocks in the Block 67 development. Image courtesy Salt Lake public documents.

The proposed street will be designed to accommodate both cars and pedestrians with traffic calming elements and formal and informal plaza space while also allowing for loading vehicles and through traffic.  The street will be programmable like Regent Street and will utilize a similar design that will allow the street to be easily converted into plaza space for events.

The developers would like to build much taller for the laters phases, up to around 30 stories which would require a rezone from D4 (Secondary Central Business District) to D1 (Central Business District). The parcels are zoned D4 (Secondary Central Business District) which allows for heights up to 75 feet and up to 120 feet through a CBSDR.  Under the D1 zone, the developers could build up to 375 feet outright or taller through a CBSDR.

Zoning map of Block 67 and adjacent blocks. Image courtesy Salt Lake City Planning Documents.

Last year the Planning Commission voted to forward a favorable recommendation for an extension of the zoning overlay district that was previously created to allow for the Convention Center Hotel to be built above the Salt Palace Convention Center.  For the overlay district, the City Council set a height limit of 375 feet for any development above the convention center.

Despite the favorable recommendation, the developers may still seek the D-1 zone designation for the southeast corner parcels to allow them to build taller than 375 feet through a CBSDR.  Any zoning change will need final approval from the city council.

According to Ryan Ritchie, of The Ritchie Group, the second phase would include at least two towers at 20-stories or taller and would add 400,000 to 500,000 square feet of office space and an additional 500 to 600 residential units.  Additionally, Ritchie told the commission that the second phase could also include a grocery store, citing a lack of grocery stores in the neighborhood.

The developers are also seeking approval from the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake for county development funds to help finance a subterranean parking structure that would serve both the second phase buildings and provide public parking for downtown residents.  Before the council and RDA give any final approvals, the council has asked the developers to meet with a mediator to address concerns from the city’s Japanese American community about the project’s potential impact on several adjacent, community-owned buildings.

Ritchie group hopes to start construction on Block 67’s first phase by spring 2019.

*This is an updated version of a previous post.

A 3-D conceptual rendering of the southeast corner of the Block 67 project. Image courtesy Salt Lake City Planning documents.

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