On the middle stretch of the North Temple Transit Corridor, dead space rules at street level.
The Utah State Fairpark’s narrow sidewalk, brick walls and empty lots for seasonal parking are only surpassed by the more than 660 yards – yes, that’s six football fields – of the building’s long facade of Rocky Mountain Power offices and lifeless storage lots.
On the north side of Temple N west of the Jordan, a KOA campground and residential trailer park have also largely left their street frontage dormant.
White Ballfield at the State Fairpark, park during the fair. Even when the city and UTA provide the walkways, so far the Fairpark has ignored the north temple entrances. In particular, a pedestrian opening was created near the TRAX station. Finally, RMP’s acres of paved dead space wasting public investment on the south side of the street.
But at the TRAX Power Station, clustered on the north side along Cornell St, hundreds of new homes are about to be built.
At 1500 W, 200 of these are “affordable” units subsidized by a federal tax credit. They will be accommodated with a large daycare center and over 5,000 square feet of retail space.
Let’s take a look at the latest iteration of the SPARK! project – just submitted to the city for design review.
The project – its history and latest updates
The city’s redevelopment agency raised eyebrows when it paid $4 million for the 2-acre property in 2017, site of the Overnighter Motel since 1980.
At $22/square foot, or $2 million per acre, this set a new precedent for land costs along the corridor. How times have changed. Five years later, the Gateway Motel, adjacent to I-15, was at $150/square foot. He is currently under contract on the asking price, the seller tells us.
The GDR wanted a “catalyst” to stimulate development. He also wanted a housing project that was affordable — but not too affordable — insisting that the winners of his tender, Chicagoland-based Brinshore Development, include only 50% of the project’s units as affordable. City council members on the west side had managed to convince the majority of their colleagues that affordable projects were being abandoned on the west side and that more market-priced housing was needed.
Since then, the hand-wringing of officials has reversed its direction, as displacement and gentrification have risen to the top of the mayoral agenda.
As land costs climb along the N Temple Corridor, affordable housing is now seen as a long shot.
Interestingly, even though only 50% of SPARK’s units are covered by tax credit subsidies (between 20 and 60% of the AMI), the median annual income has increased enough in the region that even its units at “market rate” are lower than the prevailing rate. for new residential houses along the corridor.
The city’s demands in their RFP included neighborhood services. The latest designs for the project include 5,600 square feet of retail space, divided into three small spaces facing N Temple Street.
The developers have reduced the number of parking spaces in the project from 137 to 100, for a ratio of 0.5:1. These stands will be provided on the first floor of the project. Images courtesy of KTGY Architecture + Planning.
On the west side of the building along Cornell, site plans show 5,700 square feet for a daycare center. Or maybe not.
Whitney Weller, senior vice president of Brinshore, told us that they “have had conversations with Neighborhood House for child care space,” adding that they “are also talking with other nonprofits profit-making as well as with food-focused businesses that would complement the residential community.”
Brinshore’s Weller predicts that SPARK! will obtain permits and begin construction by the end of the year. A 24-month construction process is planned.
Asked about Brinshore’s other multi-family, mixed-income Salt Lake project at 255 S State, Weller said it was “on schedule, with the south tower due for completion by September and the north tower by December. “.
We also asked how the new funding climate might affect affordable housing.
Weller shared his thoughts on the new borrowing terms developers are facing as interest rates rise.
“While the financial climate is challenging, public sources of funding and public-private partnerships continue to support affordable housing development,” Weller wrote in an email. With rising interest rates comes the “project funding gap that needs to be filled by other sources such as HOME funds and philanthropic contributions”.
Email Luke Garrott
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