Developers seek commission feedback for The Exchange

Conceptual rendering of the northeast corner of The Exchange as designed by KTGY Architecture + Planning. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.

Local developers, Giv Group plan to build The Exchange, a large mixed-use, mixed-income development at the 300 East block of 400 South but before construction can begin they’ll need to clear a Conditional and Building Site Design Review with the Salt Lake City Planning Commission.

To prepare for a public hearing with the commission the developers participated in a work session with the decision-making body to work out any potential issues that could impede future project approval.  Despite several concerns, the commission members were mostly supportive of the project.

The Exchange will take up more than half of the block, replacing the former Barnes Bank, Salt Lake Roasting Company and a two-story commercial building with two buildings, one nine-stories and one five-stories.  Both buildings will be mixed-use and have a combined 412 units, 20 percent of which will be reserved for residents earning at below 50 percent Area Median Income (AMI).

“We started thinking about this project almost as an end cap to the civic square,” said Chris Parker of the Giv Group.

The project is directly east of the Salt Lake City Main Library, the heart of the civic campus, and directly north of the Public Safety Complex.  According to Parker, the design of both buildings was influenced by the Main Library’s architecture.  The developers plan to extend campus’ midblock pedestrian focus by activating People’s Way, a small midblock street just east of the campus, with retail and plaza space.

The nine-story building will have 286 mixed-income units with 15,000 square feet of retail on 400 South and People’s Way, rooftop gardens and solar-powered heating and cooling systems.

The five-story building will feature a solar-powered mechanical and electric design.  The building will also have 126 mixed-income units with 2,700 square feet of retail and 30,000 square feet of incubator, accelerator and co-working space.

Because of its proximity to the Library TRAX Station, both buildings in The Exchange development were required to go through the Transit Station Area Development Score Review process.  Despite both buildings scoring above the 125 points needed to avoid a CBSDR with the planning commission, the project will need commission approvals because of proposed building lengths, street frontage and that the proposed height of the nine-story building exceeds the maximum height limit by 5 feet under the TSA-UC-C (Transit Station Area-Urban Center-Core) zoning district.

“Proving you can build a steel building in Salt Lake City and make it work is something we really wanted to do,” said Parker.  “We need to prove that you can build more density in this city.”

The majority of commission member’s concerns focused on the street level, especially Blair Street that will have parking at the ground level for the lower half of the building.   One commission member recommended some artistic screening along Blair Street to activate the space while still accommodating the structured parking.

Commission members also wanted to ensure that the midblock walkway extension is interesting at the pedestrian level especially along People’s Way and Blair Street.  Commission members also debated if the retail focus should be on People’s Way instead of 400 South.

In July 2017, city officials announced the selection Giv Group and New York City-based Doman Companies to redevelop the city-owned parcels at the 300 East block of 400 South.

Giv Group will need to return to the Planning Commission for a formal public hearing before they can start construction on the mixed-use, mixed-income project.

Conceptual rendering of the southeast corner of The Exchange as designed by KTGY Architecture + Planning. Image courtesy Salt Lake City public documents.
Site plan for the ground floor of The Exchange. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.

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