After outcry, the office tower is gone and there’s more commercial space in revised proposal for Cottonwood Mall site

(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) The view looking south of the old Macy's building at the former Cottonwood Mall near 4800 S. Highland Drive in Holladay on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. It's the last remaining building on the property.

Holladay • The 136-foot office tower is gone from the newest plan for the old Cottonwood Mall site.

There are fewer luxury apartments. Not as many homes, either, but those left are on bigger lots. Additional restaurants also are featured in a more commercially oriented proposal that Woodbury Corp. and Ivory Homes are putting forth for the dormant 57-acre parcel, a prime piece of real estate at the base of Mount Olympus.

Assembled by the companies after a series of “cottage meetings” with residents living near the mall site, the latest proposal will be the subject of a Holladay City Council work session at 6 p.m. Thursday at Bonneville Junior High School.

“Our residents care a great deal about how the area develops and fits into the fabric of our community,” said Holladay Mayor Rob Dahle in releasing a schedule for the city’s consideration of the proposal.

(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Big Cottonwood Creek runs along the south and west sides of of the old Cottonwood Mall site near 4800 S. Highland Drive in Holladay.

He praised the developers for “pausing their efforts to conduct more public outreach and taking that feedback into consideration before making changes.” City officials, he added, are eager to “bring new life to this key parcel in the heart of Holladay.”

The revisions appear to have assuaged many, but not all, of the major concerns expressed by residents who had banded together under the banner Holladay Citizens for Responsible Development.

One of their leaders, Tim Schimandle, sent out a message last week saying the group felt the new approach responded to their demands for “more public space, lower building heights, less density, more retail/restaurant space and greater connectivity. The new plan, while not everyone’s perfect plan, is a good compromise between the needs of the public, the developers and the city.”

When last on the council’s agenda in late January, the proposal had been rejected by the city Planning Commission as being inconsistent with the city’s vision for its future.

Most planning commission members sided with vocal neighborhood foes of the proposed 136-foot-tall building, which the developers had described as the kind of architectural landmark that could attract a big-time company to establish its corporate headquarters in the city.

The planners also said the layout made it look like two separate projects lumped into one, with too much space (40 of the 57 acres) devoted to homes on small lots and not enough emphasis on commercial properties that could fulfill the site’s anticipated status as Holladay’s financial breadbasket.

Through the cottage meetings, Jeff Woodbury said the developers were intent on showing “we responded to people’s concerns. … The fact people were so upset caused us to increase our game to make sure people understood we’re trying to create something good for the community.”

His partner, homebuilder Clark Ivory, added that the previous proposal for a high-rise was “not sensitive enough to what people wanted in height,” so the new plan has reverted to the 90-foot maximum permitted in a never-enacted plan the City Council approved for the site in 2007.

Even without that desirable extra 46 feet, Ivory said the team remains confident it can attract a marquee tenant. “We figured out how to do sophisticated, cool buildings that will max out at 90 feet.”

Much of the appeal, the developers said, will come from the amenities that will be provided throughout, from a 1.2-mile trail around the property’s perimeter to the home-automation services that will be offered in the project’s mixture of apartments, condos, brownstones and single-family dwellings.

This artist's rendition from Ivory Homes shows the kind of design foreseen for roughly 80 homes that would be built on quarter-acre lots in the residential portion of a plan to redevelop the former site of the Cottonwood Mall in Holladay.

It’s likely a full-time employee will be hired to schedule events big and small for the development, trying to take advantage of the open space in a parklike boulevard two football fields long.

Other figures reflect some of the plan’s changes:

• Apartment units have been reduced 22 percent, from 1,086 to 850.

• The number of single-family homes was cut from 107 to 79. To make up for that, the developers have added plans for 50 to 70 luxury condominiums. The plan still includes 39 town homes and 22 brownstones.

• Lot sizes were increased 20 percent.

• The space allocated for restaurants, shopping and offices has grown by 65 percent.

• Once occupying 40 acres, residences now will cover just 26.4 acres.

• Open space roughly doubled to 34 percent of the site, with 500 trees planned along with the perimeter trail.

(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Canada geese roam the acres of the old Cottonwood Mall site near 4800 S. Highland Drive in Holladay on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

“While the west and south sides of the valley are growing substantially and getting new vitality, there hasn’t been a lot done on east bench,” Ivory said. “New growth, new people, new opportunities will not only benefit this immediate site but will have a halo effect on the whole city when they do the economic analysis.”

Learn more about the plan<br>Thursday • City Council work session. No public comment. Council will listen to developers’ description of changes to the plan, then receive staff analysis; 6 p.m. at Bonneville Junior High School, 5330 S. 1650 East, Holladay.<br>March 27 • Open house at Holladay City Hall. Developers, city officials will answer questions about the project.<br>April 5 • First public hearing at Bonneville Junior High.<br>April 12 • Second public hearing, same location.