Salt Lake City saw a whole high-end neighborhood open in one swoop Wednesday with a new $144 million-plus development of 580 dwellings, luxury amenities and appealing public areas and walkways at the western edge of downtown.
Spread over nearly a full city block between 500 South and 600 South from 300 West to 400 West, the Post District, with nearly a dozen residential and commercial buildings, is among the largest mixed-use projects to emerge amid a record-setting spate of construction across the city’s central business district.
The name is an oblique nod to the site’s former use as a Salt Lake Tribune newspaper distribution facility. The ambitious redevelopment of 13.1 contiguous acres — during the COVID-19 pandemic — has now replaced or renovated and reused several portions of what was for decades an unsightly expanse of crumbling concrete and abandoned industrial structures, familiar to motorists getting to and from Interstate 15.
“It’s not often you get to build an entire neighborhood — and that’s what Post District is,” said Nick Gonzalves, director at Bridge Investment Group, a key project financier. “It’s a true live-work-play area.”
Scores of people gathered Wednesday evening on the top floor of The Register — billed as the district’s “most elevated” offering — for a celebration, followed by a ribbon-cutting.
Post District’s four midrise residential buildings — The Register, 801 Flats, Post House North and Post House South — rest on the east side of the block and have different styles and mixes of units. They’ll lease a variety of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and town homes at market-rate rents, starting at about $1,400 monthly for studios in 801 Flats, a property manger said, and ranging up up to $4,200 for three-bedroom town homes.
Elevated skyways link the buildings. Amenities — to be shared by all residents — include a 7,000-square-foot fitness center, club room, rooftop decks and a resort-style swimming pool along with a movie theater, a dog wash and a market place.
Restaurants, offices and new HQ for Traeger Grills
A block south of Pioneer Park, the district is also intersected by two midblock streets — Gale and Bly — which developers have fashioned into a series of amply landscaped public paths linking well-appointed courtyards, plazas and street-level dining areas.
The block’s western half is devoted to offices and retail spaces, including a coworking lounge. A completely revamped version of the site’s curved former Newspaper Agency Corp. warehouse facility soon will become world headquarters for Utah-grown Traeger Grills — bringing, according to Gonzalves, more than 500 jobs.
Located north across 500 South from Post District but included in the project, the renovated A&Z Produce building is operating as a vintage coworking space.
Post District will have at least three restaurants — Urban Hill, operated by the Park City proprietors of Hearth and Hill and Hill’s Kitchen; an all-day brunch “oasis” called Sunday’s Best; and Mensho Ramen, part of a chain founded by Japanese ramen master Tomoharu Shono — along with new outlets for Level Crossing Brewery, based in South Salt Lake, and Urban Sailor Coffee, based in Sugar House.
Alex Lowe, a principal in Salt Lake City-based Lowe Property Group, another of Post District’s main partners, noted the project secured its primary loan from Wells Fargo just weeks into the onset of the pandemic. He thanked the bank for remaining a steadfast lender when others were pulling out.
“It was the heart of COVID and we didn’t know what was going to happen in the world,” Lowe said, standing next to his brother, Ben, also a company principal and project partner. “Wells Fargo never wavered. ... Without them, this project doesn’t happen.”
How to ‘change a neighborhood’ — all at once
Along with the promise of adding vibrancy and attractions to that corner of the city and lifting a growing population downtown, Post District vastly improves the look of two major road corridors into and out of Utah’s capital, long envisioned by planners as grand boulevards.
Until Post District, “this entry point into our city sat dormant, vacant, dilapidated and really overlooked and forgotten,” said Brandon Blaser, founder and president of BCG Holdings, another development partner.
Blaser credited Jonathan Slager, CEO of Bridge Investment Group, with having the vision to make Post District a large all-in-one project rather than constructing it in smaller stages: “He said, ‘No, if you’re going to change a neighborhood, you’ve got to change it all — and let’s go!’”
Q Factor, the developers behind INDUSTRY SLC, a coworking space converted from an old iron foundry in the city’s Granary District, is a partner in the A&Z building’s adaptive reuse as well as two retail-restaurant facilities in Post District, known as the Barrel and Billboard buildings.
Salt Lake City-based Big-D Construction has been the primary construction contractor for Post District, with much of its architectural design done by MVE Architects in Los Angeles.
Post District is also “a true example,” according to Gonzalves, of what the federal opportunity zone program — created under President Donald Trump to grant sizable tax incentives for patient investors in designated lower-income areas — “is supposed to do.”
“It’s to give development projects a shot in the arm in places that needed some love, to bring housing, to bring jobs,” he said. “And that’s what this project has done.”