High-rise condos would break limits

Published January 25, 2007 1:05 am
LDS Church wants SLC to waive height barrier for the City Creek project
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One of the condo skyscrapers the LDS Church wants to erect as part of City Creek Center will be nearly as tall as Salt Lake City's most soaring building.

The church proposes a 415-foot tower with 223 condos on 100 South between West Temple and Main Street, just east of the Marriott Hotel. According to the city, downtown's tallest building is 435 feet - the LDS Church Office Building.

"It gives us more units," Mark Gibbons said to justify the height. The president of PRI, the church's real-estate development arm, noted that the high-rise won't be built with the rest of City Creek, which is slated to open in 2011. It will be constructed once City Creek's other planned condos fill up.

Once built, the structure - designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, in Portland, Ore. - could include a restaurant that serves liquor because it would be far enough away from Temple Square to meet city regulations protecting churches.

But before it can build the skyscraper, the church must gain permission from the city's Planning Commission to exceed height limitations. Three other residential towers, slated for South Temple, will require special approval, too.

They are:

* 185 feet with 35 condos between the Zions Bank Tower and Eagle Gate Tower on the ZCMI Center block.

* 125 feet with 33 condos east of Utah Woolen Mills on the Crossroads block.

* 125 feet with 28 condos west of Gateway Tower West on Crossroads.

Since all four will stand in the middle of the blocks, they should only be 100 feet tall, per city rules, to preserve downtown's historical development pattern, which places the largest buildings on the corners of the blocks. The regulations are also meant to protect views of the mountains, foothills and valley.

But church officials said the extra height is justified because it would bring more housing downtown. Keeping the buildings at 100 feet would net just 96 condos, versus the 319 the church has planned for those four towers. (In addition, the church will build another 122 condos where the Inn at Temple Square once stood and 100 or so apartments above retail shops. Another 100 units will be built on top of a new Harmon's east of State Street.)

Planning commissioners, who discussed the plans Wednesday night, bought the church's argument, though they wrangled about process. They will formally vote Feb. 14.

"Residential is sorely needed," said Peggy McDonough, commission chairwoman. "That's something we all agree on."

Already, 500 people have signed waiting lists to live at City Creek. Gibbons said the church will open a residential information center within two months to provide more details. While selling prices aren't known, sizes will range from 800 square feet to 4,505 square feet.


What's next

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the request to build taller than 100 feet on Feb. 14 at 5:45 p.m. at City Hall in Room 326. The commission will likely vote after the hearing.

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