Demolition clears way for ‘striking’ new buildings and more affordable housing on Salt Lake City’s 400 South

Demolition is underway at the high-profile corner of Salt Lake City’s 400 South and 300 East to make way for a major addition of housing and retail outlets.

To be known as The Exchange, the $123 million project will include two new multistory, mixed-use buildings with a combined 412 dwellings between them, about 80 of which will be kept affordable to residents making half the city’s median income.

The development, set to occupy nearly half that block when completed, replaces the former Barnes Bank Building and Salt Lake Roasting Co. at that spot along one of the city’s busiest commercial corridors.

(Al Hartmann | Tribune file photo) Trax train rolls past Salt Lake Roasting Company and the old Barnes Bank building at 320 East 400 South. The buildings are being demolished to make way for The Exchange, a $110 million mixed use development with more than 400 dwellings and retail spaces.

The city chose the site’s developers, the Giv Group of Salt Lake City and Domain Cos., based in New York, in 2017 to redevelop what amounted to seven city-owned parcels at that northwest corner, totaling nearly two acres. The buildings are designed by the Los Angeles office of KTGY Architecture + Planning.

The Exchange is set for completion in early 2021.

In city documents, the Giv Group said its first building at that corner will be “a striking, nine-story structure” designed to “serve as a worthy end cap to the city’s beautiful civic campus” created by the showcase City Library to the west and the Public Safety Building to the south.

The first tower will have about 286 mixed-income apartments, rooftop gardens and a heating and cooling system powered by solar panels, documents indicate, along with nearly 15,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

The second structure, plans indicate, is envisioned as a five-story building with 126 dwelling units, 2,700 square feet of retail space and another 30,000 square feet devoted to incubating new businesses and shared working spaces.

In addition to bringing much-needed housing and commercial activity to the downtown core, The Exchange’s design is also aimed at bringing more pedestrians and community activity to two adjacent midblock streets, Blair Street and People’s Way.

City officials sought a rezone of People's Way in 2017 to better accommodate construction of The Exchange and to allow for outdoor dining offered by restaurants in the area and for mobile food trucks to locate on the street.

The Giv Group is also behind another housing project known as Project Open, an affordable residential complex in its second phase for a total of nearly 200 apartments, located at about 300 North and 500 West.

The Exchange joins a series of large-scale mixed-use residential complexes with hundreds of new apartments built along 400 South in recent years, spurred by special zoning the city has created around key stretches of TRAX lines, known as Transit Station Area zoning.

The land-use designation, also in place along portions of 900 South, North Temple and 500 West, encourages higher-density development near mass transit nodes.