Salt Lake City Council OKs loans for 2 more affordable-housing projects

SALT LAKE CITY — Amid their ongoing push to increase housing options and reduce homelessness, Salt Lake City leaders have approved two loans to help build more affordable and permanent supportive housing units.

With no debate, the Salt Lake City Council voted unanimously to approve two resolutions Tuesday: one to authorize a $1 million loan toward a 109-unit, mixed-income development as part of a larger project surrounding the former public safety building at 315 E. 200 South; the other provides a $402,000 loan toward 40 units of permanent, supportive housing for the addiction treatment facility First Step House’s expansion.

"I’m excited and encouraged by the amount of affordable-housing development happening in this city," said City Council Chairwoman Erin Mendenhall.

The $1 million loan will help developers Cowboy Partners and Form Development finance construction of Liberty Uptown, a five-story residential building at 325 E. 200 South with 46 affordable units for families below 60 percent of the city’s area median income, 63 market-rate units, and commercial space on the ground floor, according to council documents.

Liberty Uptown is part of the larger Violin School Common development, a project to redevelop the city’s desolate former public safety building on 2.8 acres of property used for parking and ringed by chain-link fence.

In addition to Liberty Uptown, the project also includes the Magnolia, a 65-unit, permanent supportive-housing project to be operated by the Road Home shelter, and the Metropolitan, a 74-unit, market-rate building in the restored historic public safety building.

"Our (aim) is to take what is now an empty building and an empty lot and repair the neighborhood fabric," Chris Zarek of Form Development told the council during a briefing earlier this month. "And we think that all of the aspects here — the market-rate units, the workforce housing, the permanent supportive housing — are reflective of the city in that particular neighborhood."

Of Liberty Uptown’s 46 affordable units, 15 will have project-based vouchers to be deeply affordable, ranging from $272 a month for a one-bedroom unit, to other one-bedrooms costing $479 a month.

Of the remaining 31 affordable units, it’s projected the 20 one-bedroom apartments’ rents will be $756 a month, 10 two-bedroom apartments will cost $903 a month, and one three-bedroom apartment will cost $1,041 a month, according to council documents.

Construction of Liberty Uptown is slated to begin in September and completion is expected in February 2020, according to city documents. The city is still considering a separate proposal to provide financing for Cowboy Partners and Form Development to purchase the former public safety building. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 6.

As for First Step House’s 40-unit expansion, the nonprofit requested a short-term loan for acquisition of a two-tenths an acre, two-story vacant building north of their veterans campus at 440 S. 500 East. The development is projected as a five-story building with parking on the main level, consisting of one-bedroom apartments at about 540 square feet each, according to city documents.

The units would serve those earning less than 40 percent of the area median income, according to city documents.

First Step House has been awarded state and federal tax credits for the project, but is still seeking additional sources to finance the $7.3 million plan. The nonprofit is expected to repay the $402,000 loan after four years at a 1 percent interest rate.

Source Article