The new pedestrian-friendly complex adjacent to The Gateway has 195 apartments – 39 of which are more affordable – as well as a mini park, clubhouse, games center and communal outdoor kitchen.
Salt Lake City’s newest neighborhood, welcoming new residents downtown, has its quirky aspects.
Paperbox Lofts opened Thursday east of The Gateway with 195 apartments spread over three tall buildings on a long and awkward stretch of former industrial land.
The 1.99 hectare mixed-use development is a sort of urban residential canyon, accented with splashes of primary colors and dramatic multi-story murals. It now connects 300 West and 400 West with a walkway in the middle of the block and will have retail space on the ground floor and an open plaza in the middle.
The new complex of studio, one and two bedroom apartments is within walking distance of many downtown attractions including Utah Jazz’s recently renamed Delta Center Arena. In addition, it offers 39 of its units at subsidized rents that are affordable for renters, who earn 60% of area median incomes.
The opening comes amid a spate of new housing developments in the heart of Utah’s capital that, along with out-of-state influx, will double the region’s full-time population from about 5,000 today to 10,000 by 2025.
Fourteen of Paperbox’s apartments are designed as living and working spaces and four are equipped and reserved for residents with disabilities.
Salt Lake City-based Clearwater Homes and PEG Cos. of Provo were the lead developers, while VCBO Architecture of Salt Lake City designed the project and Rimrock Construction was the general contractor.
Downtown’s newest residential project is named after Utah PaperBox, a private packaging company founded in 1914 that resided on the site until 2013 when it moved to new headquarters at 920 S. 700 West. Company officials attended Thursday’s gala, also to thank the city for its help with the resettlement.
Paperbox Lofts also took nearly eight years from conception to completion, with construction, which began in 2019, being slowed by the brunt of the pandemic. Jeff Warr, PEG Cos.’s chief legal officer, said the past two years of work have “felt more like 16.”
“But everyone persevered,” added Clearwater CEO Micah Peters, “and here we are today.”
In addition to a small public park, the amenities of the new residential complex include a clubhouse with a gaming center, a communal outdoor kitchen and a sports broadcasting location for residents, the so-called locker room.
Salt Lake City’s Redevelopment Agency invested $3.2 million in the form of a land write-off in the project in exchange for bringing more affordable housing downtown.
Mayor Erin Mendenhall and City Council Member Alejandro Puy, who currently chairs the RDA board, attended the opening ceremony for Paperbox on Thursday and commended a number of partnerships that have helped create affordable units.
The mayor compared such openings to the modern equivalent of a “city barnyard” and called for greater cooperation between the city and housing developers.
“We have to come together,” Mendenhall said. “The private market will not do it alone. We want to continue to be your partner in the future.”
Also, due to the narrow lot, the Paperbox Lofts project employs two mechanical parking systems instead of a traditional parking garage, with seven- and two-story structures designed to automatically stack and collect vehicles dropped by their drivers.
Ernesto Chavarria, CEO of The Trivial Co., based in Rio Vista, Calif., said the system fits 127 spaces in the footprint of a 27-space lot, comparable to a car kiosk.