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West Valley City Journal

What’s happening with the old Kmart property on 4100 South?

Jan 08, 2020 03:00PM ● By Travis Barton

A rendering of what the apartment buildings will look like. (Rendering by Beecher Walker)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

It was April 2018 when after 90 minutes of residents voicing their feelings on a proposed high-end apartment complex at the former Kmart site on 4100 S. 1770 West, the West Valley City Council voted 4-3 approving the project. 

Fast forward 18 months, with a proposed change to the original plan for the Sage Valley project, the council voted the same way, 4-3 approving the project. 

“West Valley City staff and council have put their trust and confidence in us to create something special here,” Rich Day, developer and principal of STAY Capital who is responsible for the project, said in a press release. “This project will be a standout in the neighborhood, city and state.”  

Ground was broken for the 539,986 square foot project on Nov. 18. But not after another lengthy council meeting in October 2019 that saw residents express opposition to the project and the council split on the matter. 

The six-story development, according to the press release, will have 430 units, consist of two apartment buildings and feature amenities such as a fitness center, multi-use soccer field, fire pit, resource center, rooftop solar panels, a dog park and bathing facility, bike shop, swimming pool and hot tub. 

The reason it came back to the city council, Stay Capital developers requested changes to the original development agreement. Townhomes would be reduced from 21 to 18, all of which would be owner occupied with three bedrooms with no basements. Apartment buildings would go from seven stories to six. Apartments would stay at 430 total units, all of which changed in size, but would be bigger or comparable in size to the Fairbourne Station apartments. Gateway units would be 1,423 square feet, one-bedroom units would be 675 square feet, two-bedroom units 937 square feet and three-bedroom units 1,158 square feet. 

Construction of the building will be a concrete parking structure and wood with steel studs where required. Exterior materials will include wood finish panels, fiber cement siding, EIFS system (stucco) and brick. 

The $100 million housing development left many residents concerned about safety, traffic, parking, and a proposed open space in one option of the agreement. 

“If the project is not viable for the developer as originally proposed, is it our responsibility to bail him out and approve something less?” resident Roger Thackeray asked the council prior to the vote. 

Ernest Burgess, a Taylorsville City Councilmember who represents the district on the south side of 4100 South bordering the Sage Valley project, told the West Valley City Council his constituents were concerned about economic development and property values in addition to traffic and public safety. 

“If there are any changes made, I would ask does this enhance or make better (those concerns)?” Burgess said. “It appears the current options don’t enhance any of these.” 

Councilman Tom Huynh was also concerned about the safety and parking, noting a high turnover rate in apartment tenants, which leads to crime and more work for the police department. 

Councilmembers who voted in favor voiced their approval of the planned quality of the project. 

Councilman Steve Buhler noted the development is supposed to be “better than the current apartment stock” within the city, adding it’s “important that we have an upgrade in everything that we do. Everything new that comes into this city should be better. That would be my hope.” 

Both Buhler and Councilman Lars Nordfelt said they were initially upset with the project returning to the council and a lack of progress on the property, but that the push back from the council improved the proposal. 

“The proposal tonight is better, including no pay for parking, no basements in townhomes so no flooding, the parking exceeds our ordinance,” Buhler said. 

That “push back” from city officials led to the developers agreeing to replace the fence along the northern and western border with a concrete wall. Developers also agreed to make all parking within the property free to mitigate concerns parking would spill over onto 4100 South. 

One option of the plan proposed an open space in place of the townhomes, but residents were concerned it would attract homeless to the area. The council voted for the option to include the townhomes. 

Planning Director Steve Pastorik said a study by the Institute of Transportation Engineers that said commercial development would increase traffic more than an apartment development. He also said the project will require a lighting plan to meet city code, an effort to improve safety on the property. 

As for crime, Pastorik said they look at where police are called to, and it differs from complex to complex. 

“Not all apartment complexes are created equal,” he said. “The single most significant factor there is how they’re managed. Well managed (properties) has fewer calls than those that aren’t.”

The original agreement had 700 parking spaces, the new agreement sees that number increased to 800, which is more than what the city code requires on a per unit basis. 

Though the parking spaces increased, Councilwoman Karen Lang felt with the increase in two and three bedroom units, the number of cars per unit would increase too. She also said the area is more of a destination. 

“This is not like Fairbourne Station” close to retail and mass transit, she said. “This is more of a location where people are going to drive to and from and not use transit as much as you would hope they would.”

Construction is in full swing, with developers saying the townhome block will have a future Starbucks and Popeyes with three other future retail sites, all of which were expected to start in December.