8 projects, 880 affordable units are coming, with $8M in help from Salt Lake City

These loans show our housing policies are working, council member says.

(Giv Development, via Salt Lake City) A rendering of Citizens West, an affordable housing development proposed at 509 W. 300 North in Salt Lake City. It was one of eight projects approved for low-interest loans by the city's Redevelopment Agency.

Salt Lake City will provide $8.36 million in low-interest loans to developers of eight new housing projects proposed to include a sizable share of rent-subsidized dwellings.

This is the latest round of cash the city’s Redevelopment Agency has offered at least yearly since about 2016 to entice construction of more affordable homes by providing what is known as gap financing, chipping in a key piece of the overall lending.

With approval Tuesday by the City Council in its role overseeing the RDA, loans of between $280,000 and $1.825 million with reduced interest rates and 40-year terms will go to support construction of up to 888 new units.

These will range from studios to four-bedroom apartments, according to the developers, with only eight of the units to be rented at market rates.

The projects are spread across the city, west and east of Interstate 15. Two of them involve converting old buildings to new uses and several more will offer future tenants proximity to mass transit.

Nearly 438 of the dwellings, according to the RDA’s review, will be affordable to residents making under 40% of area median incomes, defined as deeply affordable. Another 278 would be moderately affordable, accessible to those with incomes at between 40% and 60% of the regional median.

About 168 will be three- or four-bedroom units, a type of affordable housing deemed to be in short supply when officials are trying to lure more families as the city’s population grows. The RDA recently altered its rules for vetting loan applications, in fact, to give higher priority to family-size housing, as well as to deeply affordable units.

Six of the eight projects funded Tuesday are to include both. Several council members marveled that their recent shift had yielded those results.

“It actually has worked,” the outgoing RDA chair, council member Ana Valdemoros, said of prospect of more family housing. “I’m impressed and excited about what we were able to accomplish with our policies.”

Valdemoros noted, though, that none of the latest projects is located in the downtown area she represents, where she said the need for rent-subsidized family housing is especially acute.

The RDA originally had $6 million for this year’s discount lending, offered at interest rates of 1% and 2%, but a previous loan recipient funded by the RDA in 2021 returned the money, freeing up another $2.36 million.

Approved for funding Tuesday were:

• Two phases of Victory Heights, 1060 E. 100 South, with loans of $1.865 million and $280,000, respectively. Developers with BCG Holdings in Salt Lake City propose to build up to 88 apartments in two stages in an adaptive reuse of the former Alpine Medical Group building for a project worth a total of about $33.6 million.

Atkinson Stacks, 543 S. 500 West, with a loan of $500,000 to developer HAME, or the Housing Assistance Management Enterprise, another name for the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City. The authority proposes to build 114 studio units to be set aside for disabled residents and the unsheltered. That project will cost about $29.8 million.

Book Cliffs Lodge, 1159 S. West Temple, where HAME also wants to build 55 one- and three-bedroom units primarily for veterans and those experiencing homelessness. It will receive $540,000 this round after a prior RDA loan of $1 million. The project’s price tag will be about $15.4 million.

Citizens West 2 and Citizens West 3, two phases of work being done at 509 W. 300 North by Giv Development with loans of $1.85 million and $1.2 million, respectively. The first stage has 50 units and the second 30, with portions of both set aside for those formerly homeless, disabled residents and refugees. Combined, the two stages will cost about $36 million.

Ville 1659, at 1659 W. North Temple, with 197 studio apartments to be built by Ville Property Management, in a reuse of a former motel. Its loan will be $1.825 million toward an $18.25 million project. The living units will be restricted to tenants earning at or below 30% of area median incomes.

Liberty Corner, to be built at 265 W. 1300 South by Cowboy Partners, which will receive a $1.125 million loan. The developer wants to put up 200 two-, three- and four-bedroom units in a $99.7 million project.