Paperbox proposal will include affordable housing

Rendering of the Paperbox development looking east from 400 West as designed by VCBO Architecture. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.
Rendering of the Paperbox development looking east from 400 West as designed by VCBO Architecture. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.

In an attempt to assuage the affordable housing crisis in Salt Lake City, the City Council acting as the Board of Directors of the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City (RDA) is leveraging its agency’s role in development to ensure that affordable housing is included in RDA projects.

On Tuesday, the Board of Directors approved a resolution offering a $0 purchase price in exchange for the inclusion of affordable housing for the RDA-owned, Paperbox parcel on the 100 South block of 300 West.

Last year, the RDA selected Clearwater Homes and Peg Development to redevelop the mid-block parcel that fronts both 300 and 400 West.  Both developers own adjacent properties on the block. Clearwater is developing the Paragon Station Lofts to the south of the parcel.  Peg Development is behind the recently-completed Downtown Hyatt House and Courtyard by Marriott to the north of the Paperbox parcel.

The RDA board approved entering into an Exclusive Negotiations Agreement with the developers in January and again in February after newly appointed Mayor Jackie Biskupski requested that the Council revisit the resolution.  The new terms approved on Tuesday will require the developers to include 36 units reserved for residents earning 60 percent of the area median income (AMI) for the project’s first 30 years.

The site plan for the Paperbox development. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.
The site plan for the Paperbox development. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.

With the developers have slightly altered the design of the originally-approved proposal by increasing the number of units and adjusting the amount of public space.  Instead of two buildings with 168 units.  Developers now propose three building with a combined, 183 residential units.   The units will have a mix of studios, one and two-bedroom units.  The project will also include 16 live/work, ground-floor walk-up units.

The three buildings will have a mix of residential, commercial and open space.   The two largest will be six-stories and will take up the south side of the parcel.  The smaller third building will be multi-leveled with the west side topping out at four stories and the east side at three stories.  The smaller building will abut the south side of the parking garage currently being used for the adjacent hotels.7500 square feet of open space that according to Peters, will include a grand entrance of 300 West that incorporates the adjacent Hyatt House.

With the new design, the developers have added more open space.  The original proposal added 7,500 square feet of open space.  The current proposal will have more than three-times the square-footage included in the original proposal.  The project will have three public areas that will add 24,184 square feet of open space to the block.  The project’s east entrance will have a 13,740 square-foot plaza that will separate the east building from Hyatt House.  A 7,277 park will sit at the center of the block between the largest two buildings.  A 3,166 public square will front 400 West and serve as the west entrance to the property.

The project will also have a mid-block street that will connect 300 West to 400 West.  The street is similar to the 100 South block of Regent Street, in that the street will be designed to accommodate cars will still being welcoming to pedestrians.

Micah Peters, the CEO of Clearwater Homes has argued that it is not cost effective for developers to include sizable amounts of affordable housing in new construction development.  In the February RDA meeting, Peters suggested that instead of incentivizing affordable units in new developments, the city should consider incentives to owners of older multi-family buildings to convert market-rate units to affordable units via RDA loans.

Under the terms adopted by the RDA, the developers of the Paperbox development will have until August 2017 to complete the entitlement process and until spring of 2019 to complete construction.

Aerial rendering of the Paperbox development looking north near 200 South, as designed by VCBO Architecture. Image courtesy Salt Lake City.
Aerial rendering of the Paperbox development looking north near 200 South, as designed by VCBO Architecture.  Image courtesy Salt Lake City.

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