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The City Journals

Murray holds open house for massive 48th & State project

Sep 29, 2021 12:58PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

ormer Murray Mayor Dan Snarr with downtown Murray stakeholders Bill and Susan Wright examine the rendering for the proposed “48th & State” project. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

It’s big and ambitious, and now Murrayites have their turn to submit input on the new Murray City “48th & State” project. On Aug. 25, Murray City invited the public’s input on the expansive 4800 South and State Street proposal for transforming downtown Murray. A large crowd gathered at the Heritage Center to examine plans and talk with Murray’s developer of the project, Edlen & Company.

The project is for two six-story mixed-use residential buildings comprising of 262 rental units, nine of which are townhomes, 176 one-bedroom, 56 two-bedroom, and 10 three-bedroom units. The project also includes a public plaza and 26,020 square feet of curated, ground-floor retail with three levels of structured parking. In addition, apartment dwellers will have access to a lounge and terrace on the top floor. 

According to Edlen & Company Co-founder Jill Sherman, the most crucial part of the project is “The opportunity to bring a significant number of residents to downtown Murray who will enliven the downtown and support downtown businesses, quality of design and commitment to sustainability.”

Before officially unveiling the project, the Murray City Center District has had design concerns expressed before in Murray City Council and Planning Commission meetings. 

“Many residents are concerned about the density of the project, the design not being compatible with historic downtown Murray and the amount of parking. The project design is in an early stage, and we hope to address some of these concerns via further evolution of the design,” Sherman said.

“It was amazing to experience the energy from the Murray community at the open house,” Matthew Bray, principal architect with GBD Architects, said. “It was challenging to capture the amount of time, energy, creativity, and financial commitment spent on this project over the past year with only the 13 boards that were on display. The project is still very early in its evolution and intends to apply further refinement to the design, which is why the feedback from the community is important.”

Historical preservationists criticize razing a half-dozen century-old storefronts on State Street and two historic homes on Poplar Street. The Harker Building (4838 S. State) remains the only landmark building whose fate still belongs to DAR Enterprises and is not currently slated for demolition. According to Sherman, Murray City directed Edlen to incorporate the Harker Building into its design.

“Adaptive reuse of these structures is the best way to make a thriving arts, culture, and shopping district that everyone in Murray can be proud of. Historic preservation done well is a fantastic economic driver. When you safeguard your historic districts and keep them thriving, people flock in to spend time and money there, making new memories from the old places,” Historic Murray First Foundation President Rachel Morot said.

“We met with several individuals from Murray at the open house that has owned property in downtown or has had a long-standing family history and legacy in the community and wishes to preserve or maintain the known and respected characteristics of buildings that have largely shaped downtown Murray for years. It is not lost on the development and design team that this project represents change for Murray and the downtown area. We are cognizant and sensitive to the building attributes found in Murray,” Bray said.

The 423 planned parking stalls, a frequently stated concern, generated plenty of comments at the Sept. 21 RDA meeting. Those stalls are meant for the apartments and a grocery store, slated as the anchor retail tenant. However, the parking structure had to be designed above ground due to the high water table there. 

“Integrating above-grade parking is always a challenge. Below-grade parking is ideal because it hides parking and allows for more people-oriented ground floor uses and public open spaces which is initially where we started. This site has a shallow water table which presents both a technical and cost challenge with burying parking,” Bray said.

Murray resident Ali Lyddall said, “Personally, I’m a little concerned about the amount of parking relative to the number of rental units. Also, I am wondering why they are rental units and not condos for sale.”

Unique to this project is the private/public partnership between Murray City and the developers. Plans including making the project LEED Certified, making it a first for homes—a gold-certified apartment building in Utah. Large solar arrays are planned on the rooftops.

Next for the project will be to incorporate public input and make any changes. Tentative approval of the construction agreements will happen later this year. Construction is scheduled for summer 2022, with the completion of the project in 2024. 

“During the open house, Murray was described as ‘A small town within a large city.’ We are up to the task of creating the feelings of intimacy, uniqueness, and community that are desired and should be considered when presenting a newer development project within Murray while also planning for a resilient future,” Bray said.