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Salt Lake City welcomes more affordable housing with opening of Paperbox Lofts

Salt Lake City—Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, City officials and development partners gathered to commemorate the opening of Paperbox Lofts, and with it, the addition of 39 more affordable housing units within Downtown. Located at 340 W. 200 South, the City’s newest mixed-use project extends into the middle of the block on a 2-acre lot, which was formerly the site of the Utah Paperbox production warehouse.  

“This project was truly one of collaboration. Local government and private partners were brought together by a shared goal to address the growing need for affordable housing and more connectivity here in our rapidly growing Capital City,” said Mayor Mendenhall, who also serves as the RDA’s Executive Director. “We are immensely proud of what this partnership has accomplished and the public benefit that it will provide.” 

This build stays true to its mixed-use purpose, striking the balance between commercial, residential, and public use. The redevelopment project consists of three structures grounded with first-floor retail spaces fronting a new one-way street and midblock walkway that create new connections to 200 South and 300 West. It adds a total of 195 units to Salt Lake City’s housing stock, with 39 units made available to those making 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), 14 units qualifying as live-work spaces, and 4 units made ADA compliant.  

Seeing the need for residential and commercial opportunities on this West Downtown block, in 2005 the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City (RDA) negotiated with the owners of Utah Paperbox to relocate its rigid box production and printing operations to a larger site within the City’s Glendale neighborhood, which at the time was being used as a noxious tire-recycling facility. The RDA’s selection of Paperbox Lofts co-developers – PEG and Clearwater Homes – gave way to a collaborative design that fully utilizes the parcel’s unique location on the interior of the classically large, Salt Lake City block. In exchange for substantial infrastructure improvements made by the developers, the RDA provided a $3.2-million land write-down. Other key players in the success of this project were financial lenders Washington Federal, Micah Peters, VCBO, and Rimrock.

Only a few blocks away from the Delta Center, a hub for events in the Salt Lake Valley, this project needed to solve for crowded streets and packed parking lots—the development team opted for a mechanical parking system, a vehicular vending machine of sorts. The main “carstacker” structure has 108 parking stalls over seven levels, and the second structure includes 18 spaces, stacking two levels high. Between these two systems, 126 cars fit in the footprint of 27 surface lot spaces.  

“This part of the Central Business District is always bustling with festivals, concerts—events of all types! So, ensuring we partnered with developers who could aid Downtown parking with an innovative solution was a must,” said District 2 Salt Lake City Council Member and RDA Board Chair Alejandro Puy. “Practically speaking, this is a huge space saver. Conceptually, this is a big leap forward for the City’s urban core.” 

As of publication, 89% of Paperbox’s units are leased and occupied. 

“Paperbox Lofts, a community of 195 apartment homes, offers its residents and the broader Salt Lake community a place to gather, build connections, and inspire their creative selves. Comprised of three separate buildings, Paperbox Lofts includes a midblock connection between the downtown core and the Gateway mall, the tallest mechanical parking system in the state of Utah, and a park intended for all people of Salt Lake to enjoy. Paperbox Lofts would not have been possible without the diligent effort of the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City and their commitment to bringing thoughtfully designed developments and affordable housing to our community,” said Matt Krambule, Senior Development Manager for PEG Companies.