Commission approves large Sugar House townhome project

Rendering of the Liberty Place Townhomes looking west from Wilmington Avenue. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.
Rendering of the Liberty Place Townhomes looking west from Wilmington Avenue. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.

After the several years of back and forth between residents and City leaders over building height along the S-Line in Sugar House, a new project shows that increasing the height limits doesn’t always translate to taller development.  On Wednesday the Salt Lake City Planning Commission approved a planned development request from Cowboy Partners to build the Liberty Place Townhomes, a 70 unit townhome project on the 600 East block of Wilmington Avenue directly north of the S-Line.

The project will replace an office building and surface parking lot.  The units will be rentals and will be dispersed among eight buildings on 1.72 acres.  The townhomes will be three stories (35 feet) in height and include a one car garage.  The project’s townhomes will front Wilmington Avenue, 600 East and the S-Line.

All but nine of the units will have two bedrooms.  The townhomes will have the garage and storage space on the ground floor with the living area, kitchen and powder room on the second floor.   The bedrooms will be on the third floor and in both the one and two bedroom units each bedroom with have a private bath.

According to the project’s architects, Arch Nexus, the townhomes are designed to engage with the S-Line streetcar and greenway.  The project includes a public mid-block walkway that will provide pedestrian access to the S-Line via Wilmington Avenue.  The development also features a small landscaped plaza at the site’s southeast corner that will abut the greenway and include bike racks and a fire pit.

Zoning map for the area surrounding the proposed The Liberty Place Townhomes on the 600 East block of Wilmington Avenue. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.
Zoning map for the area surrounding the proposed The Liberty Place Townhomes on the 600 East block of Wilmington Avenue. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.

The project is located in the recently adopted FB-SE (Form Based Streetcar Edge) zoning district as part of the Sugar House Streetcar Corridor Master Plan that the City Council approved in June.  The FB-SE zone allows for building heights up to 45 feet.

According to City planning documents, the project will be instead developed under the area’s previous CB (Commercial Business) zone.  The CB zone allows for building heights up to 30 feet.  The planned development approval will allow the developers to add the additional five feet as well as reduce the required rear yard setback of 10 feet to eight feet to allow the project to be closer to the S-Line.

With the Liberty Place Townhomes, Cowboy is breaking from its recent emphasis on building higher density multifamily projects in Salt Lake.  In the past two years, Cowboy has built the Liberty Village in Sugar House and the Liberty Gateway, both five stories each.

Construction is underway on two other Cowboy projects, Liberty Crest in downtown and Liberty Boulevard on 400 South, that are seven and five stories respectively.  Cowboy also recently received approval by the Historic Landmark Commission to build the four-story Liberty Square directly north of Trolley Square on 500 South.

“We are excited to be providing some much needed ‘Missing Middle Housing’ for the community,” wrote a representative from Arch Nexus to planning staff.

Site plan for the Liberty Place Townhomes. The project includes a mid block public walkway. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.
Site plan for the Liberty Place Townhomes. The project includes a mid-block public walkway. Image courtesy Salt Lake City planning documents.

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