Skip to main content

The City Journals

Townhomes and a new library a possibility for former Granite High lot

Feb 25, 2019 02:42PM ● By Bill Hardesty

Draft design of the north 11 acres showing townhomes on the east and the library on the west. (Courtesy of Salt Lake Library)

By Bill Hardesty |[email protected]

On Feb. 7, Wasatch Residential Group along with Salt Lake County Library made a joint presentation to the South Salt Lake Planning Commission concerning the north 11 acres of the former Granite High School property. Their proposal is built on the ability to divide the 11 acres into two lots. The east six- acre parcel would be developed by Wasatch Residential Group and be called Granite Townhomes. The west five-acre parcel will be sold to the Salt Lake County Library for a new library serving South Salt Lake.

“Doing this is the right thing for the taxpayers and the citizens of South Salt Lake City,” said Jim Cooper, library director.

The plan hinges on a zoning change. Currently, the property is zoned for single-resident housing. This is allowing Garbett Homes to build Granite Legacy on the southern part of the Granite High School property. Wasatch Residential Group and Salt Lake County Library are proposing to create a new Granite Zone allowing for high-density housing and splitting the 11 acres now owned by Wasatch Residential Group into two parcels. 

In November, Wasatch Residential Group drafted an ordinance creating the new zone and submitted it to the city. Rather than red lining the draft ordinance, last week the city wrote a new draft ordinance and sent it to the Wasatch Residential Group for their review. They are comparing the two and are hoping to have the ordinance ready for the Planning Commission to review later in February.

Granite Townhomes

Wasatch Residential Group proposes to build 113 three-story town homes on the east parcel. One of key design elements is the townhomes will face 3300 South and others will overlook the library. The design allows a modern look on 3300 South and a greater open feeling. The design has walking paths into the library parcel. This stitching together is a result of partnering with the Salt Lake County Library Services on design. While they have partnered in design, they have separate timelines and building plans.

There will be two- and three-bedroom townhomes ranging from 1,350 to 1,600 square feet. Wasatch Residential Group is open to either renting or selling the townhomes. However, Wasatch Residential Group’s main business is managing rental properties. The monthly rates are projected to be $1,600 to $1,700 for a two bedroom and $1,950 to $2,000 for a three bedroom. If they sell them, the price is projected for the low to mid 300’s. 

Since the townhomes have a two-car garage in the back, facing townhomes within the development create front green courts. There will be 30 percent open space in the development. 

When asked by Commissioner Jeremy Carter why townhomes, Adam Lankford, vice president of development, pointed out that given how busy 3300 South is, no design would allow driveway approaches. He pointed out if single homes are built, that means backyards would face 3300 South rather than modern townhomes. He also pointed out that townhomes give the developers greater flexibility in design.

Photo taken from the corner of 500 East and 3300 South. The new library’s main entrance will face this corner. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

Library

In order to build the library, Wasatch Residential Group would sell the property to Salt Lake County Library at a fair market rate. The full cost of the property and development will be paid with property tax revenue collected by the county.

Cooper pointed out that all designs are preliminary and they have stopped further design awaiting the decision on the zone change.

The library is projected to be 30,000 square feet making it the largest in the system. The building will be turned so that the main entrance will face the corner of 3300 South and 500 East paying homage to Granite High School. This design will allow more green area in front of the library. The design has a walking trail around the grounds reminiscent of the Granite High School track.

Cooper said, “Libraries are the life blood of the community” as he described possible design features in and outside of the building.

Two other ways the design pays respect to Granite High School is by incorporating the Granite High School seal and the rock — two school icons. The seal was in the floor, but no one walked on it. Tradition stated that if you did, upper class members would make the offender clean it with a toothbrush. The rock is a piece of granite used as a gathering place. 

When the new library opens, Salt Lake County Library will close the Smith Library at 810 E. 3300 South and pull out library services at the Columbus Library at 2530 S. 500 East. In both cases, the branches don’t have the capacity for new library services such as the Creation Lab or large public meeting rooms.