This story is part of The Salt Lake Tribune’s ongoing commitment to finding solutions to Utah’s biggest challenges through the work of the Innovation Lab.
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In a philanthropic gesture aimed at the region’s growing shortage of affordable housing, two Utah-based foundations will announce plans to build nearly 850 rent-subsidized apartments in seven cities across the state.
Their plan, unveiled Tuesday and called “Housing for Impact,” will fund the construction of apartments and townhouses in select locations in Salt Lake City, South Jordan, Draper, Magna, Lehi, Francis and Park City. Many of the housing projects will also be adjacent to community resources for seniors, families and other vulnerable groups.
And through the generosity of charitable foundations established by Ivory Homes, Utah’s largest homebuilder, and FJ Management, whose corporate holdings now include the Maverik and Kum & Go convenience store chains, these homes are intended for residents whose incomes are below theirs Income is kept financially within reach of the district’s average income.
Officials from the affordable housing nonprofit Ivory Innovations and FJ Management’s foundation, known as Call To Action, will join Utah Gov. Spencer Cox on Tuesday morning to announce the new initiative.
Their backdrop for the event: the old Liberty Wells Center, 707 S. 400 East in Salt Lake City, a former gymnasium and community meeting place donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As part of Housing for Impact, the eastern site will be converted into 30 apartments and 36 townhouses, with three-quarters of the units being low-income housing.
“This is about sharing,” said Clark Ivory, CEO of Ivory Homes and founder of Ivory Innovations, in an interview before Tuesday’s event. “We want everyone to benefit from what we do.”
Housing for middle-income people in three counties
About a quarter of the homes in Liberty Wells and the other six locations are rented at market rates, while 35% are for those making 80% of the regional median income in the county in which they live, and 40% for those those who live there are those earning 60% of AMI.
(For comparison, a person in Salt Lake City making 80% of AMI has an annual income of about $59,400.)
Tuesday’s high-profile announcement also comes as economists say Utah is experiencing its least affordable housing market in at least 50 years, with rents rising far faster than wages and the average home price now at a record higher than that Annual income is six times the national average.
In addition to the Liberty Wells site – which will be renamed Innovation Park – details on other Housing for Impact projects include:
• Between 200 and 326 townhouses as part of a larger development called Mahogany Ridge in Magna, about 8230 W. 4100 South.
• Approximately 186 apartments in Draper in what is expected to be the state’s first major high-rise complex, built from prefabricated modular components and located near Vista Station.
• Approximately 138 apartments for seniors in South Jordan, located on city-owned land next to a senior center on West South Jordan Parkway.
• Nearly 240 one-, two- and three-bedroom units, a project called Innovation Park at Holbrook Farms in Lehi, to be built in two phases near the soon-to-open Primary Children’s Hospital site, about 2250 N. Miller Campus Drive .
• Fifteen townhouses in the Park City Heights neighborhood along Piper Way and an additional 12 apartments and 16 townhouses in the Francis community in west Summit County as part of a project called Francis Commons.
Ivory Innovations and FJ Management are equal partners in Housing for Impact, officials from the two operating foundations said. Many of the projects also involve land donations, public grants or similar collaborations with cities, non-profit organizations or other providers.
“Showcase” for other cities, house builders – and workers
Ivory said the projects will also highlight innovations in finance, design or construction that leaders at Ivory Innovations – which was founded in 2017 to advance new ideas in affordable housing – hope will be adopted in the homebuilding industry to be spread .
“We want to highlight the best ideas,” said the CEO of Ivory Homes, “and when we try to lower housing affordability, we invite people to come in and take advantage of that.”
Salt Lake City-based Ivory Innovations is also behind the annual Ivory Prize, awarded to select companies, nonprofits and governments for new and scalable ideas to improve housing affordability. The nonprofit also sponsors programs to engage students in housing innovation, including an annual 24-hour Hack-a-House competition.
FL Management’s involvement with Housing for Impact is a little more subtle, according to Crystal Maggelet, president and CEO of the family-owned company whose portfolio also includes the Big West Oil refinery in North Salt Lake and the Crystal Inn Hotel & Suites chain.
Maggelet said with proceeds from the recent sale of a stake in the Flying J gas station chain to conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, FJ Management’s Call to Action is now expanding nonprofit efforts that once focused on education to affordable housing – fueled in part by the concerns of your own employees per hour.
The company acquired Kum & Go from Iowa-based Krause Group earlier this year and added it to the Maverik chain, which operates a total of 800 stores in 20 states and employs about 13,000 convenience store workers. A recent survey of these employees’ challenges revealed that food and housing were at the top of their list, according to Maggelet.
“We have increased our wages significantly in recent years, by 40 to 50% per hour,” said the CEO.
But the survey results, she said, “have really come full circle…The more I’ve learned, the more I believe that you can’t make much progress unless housing and food needs are met,” education and some of those other areas.”
Under its operating rules, Call To Action cannot set aside homes built through Housing for Impact for its own workers, but Maggelet said it has now included affordable housing in its official mission and views Tuesday’s announcement as the start of an expansion this job.
“Our family business is 55 years old and we have done well,” said the CEO, “We want to give back… Our mission is to create values that are lasting, and how could you create lasting values than affordable ones “To create products?” Housing for people.”
Editor’s note • The Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation is a donor to the Salt Lake Tribune’s Innovation Lab. Drew Maggelet, housing director for FJ Management’s Call To Action Foundation, is a member of the Innovation Lab’s Advisory Board.