Construction is set to start soon on a $144 million residential and commercial project in a blighted area of Salt Lake City that motorists pass getting to and from Interstate 15.
In the first major work on what project backers see as downtown’s “next great expansion,” Post House will involve five multistory buildings with unique architectural designs and nearly 580 apartments, substantial square footages of retail outlets and offices, a plaza and additional outdoor spaces.
The groundbreaking for Post House also initiates what is to be a wider transforming overhaul for that entire formerly disused block on the western edge of downtown Salt Lake City, in a development to be known as Post District.
Developers announced last fall they have visions for nearly 13 contiguous acres of what is now a bunch of cracked concrete and abandoned industrial buildings, located around 500 South and 600 South between 300 West and 400 West.
In addition to furthering an apartment-building surge in Salt Lake City that has added hundreds of living units in the urban core in recent years, the project also furthers a long-held goal of beautifying the 500 South and 600 South corridors that welcome motorists entering Utah’s capital city.
The first dwellings and shops in Post House will open as soon as spring of 2022, designers at the California-based architecture and design firm MVE + Partners said Monday.
Renderings indicate Post House will features a mix of building styles, complementing triangular exterior surfaces and a tree-lined midblock walkway running north and south through what was once called the NAC block, used for decades in delivery and printing logistics by the Newspaper Agency Corp.
Matching initial statements from developers, officials at MVE + Partners said Monday that Post House is itself envisioned as a pedestrian-friendly “complete neighborhood” within Post District, with eateries, shopping, plazas and several pocket parks and other green spaces.
Pieter Berger, senior associate partner at MVE, said in a statement the project would let some residents live, work and recreate in one place by providing amenities such as outdoor decks, courtyards, fire pits, lounge areas, swimming pools and a sizable on-site fitness center.
The 52,000-square-foot plaza adjacent to Post House, to be located along midblock Gale Street, will open onto a series of what are called woonerf-style streets within the project. Woonerf is Dutch for “living street” and these typically have traffic-abating features, making them more suitable for walking, biking and other alternatives to driving.
Developers behind the district have said that many of the existing buildings on the site — including A&Z Produce to the north and the distinctive NAC Building, with its curved east-facing exterior — will be adapted and reused in the new project instead of demolished.
Berger said the result “will serve as a model for the revitalization of Salt Lake’s larger city blocks.”
He said some of the buildings’ architectural features were inspired in part by the site’s views of the Wasatch Mountains, as well as its past industrial uses.
Others involved in the design include two Salt Lake City companies, Lowe Property Group and BCG Holdings, and a Denver firm with Utah operations called Q Factor. Salt Lake City-based Bridge Investment Group is the project’s primary capital backer.
Bridge Investment has invested heavily in recent years in real estate transactions involving what are called opportunity zones. These are special, low-income tracts of land across the U.S. created through President Donald Trump’s tax overhaul, meant to give wealthy and institutional investors in such neighborhoods substantial breaks on capital gains taxes.
The Post District site falls within one of seven opportunity zones within Salt Lake City limits.
Nearly 95% of Post House’s square footage between the five buildings will be devoted to apartments, according to MVE + Partners. The dwellings will range from 385-square-foot studios to 2,030-square-foot lofts, the firm said.
Brandon Blaser, a principal with BCG Holdings, said Monday that while the apartments in Post House will all be rented at market rates, some of those smaller units have been designed to have prices accessible to those making average Salt Lake City incomes.