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West Valley City Journal

Luxury housing complex to be built near Valley Fair Mall

Feb 06, 2023 03:21PM ● By Darrell Kirby

This rendering shows what the completed Back 9 apartments west of Costco in West Valley City will look like when finished in 2024. (Courtesy Timberlane Partners)

It’s another step in the development of the heart of West Valley City. 

A large luxury apartment complex is in the early stages of construction south of Valley Fair Mall.

Back 9, as it’s called, will be a 262-unit, five-story development on three acres west of Costco and southeast of city hall near 3700 S. 2700 West. The apartments will average 839 square feet and the project will feature amenities like a “resort-style pool,” rooftop plaza, leasing center, fitness center, kids play area, and a clubhouse with a kitchen and entertainment area, according to Seattle-based developer Timberlane Partners. 
“We're thrilled to be planting a flag here with this development that is sure to add excitement to downtown West Valley,” said Timberlane principal John Chaffetz in a statement.
Back 9 will utilize podium construction which is basically concrete ground and lower levels with wood-frame construction on the upper floors. In this case, the apartments will be built above parking consisting of 424 stalls. 

Projected completion of the project is 2024. Jacobsen Construction is the contractor.

Back 9 will add some rental housing to a tight market, although it isn’t quite the affordable type community leaders around Salt Lake County say is desperately needed.

Because of limited rental inventory and high mortgage rates to buy a house, would-be home buyers are being forced into a competitive rental market. Those and other factors account for an average 15% increase in rents in both 2021 and 2022 after flatlining during the peak pandemic year of 2020. That was still “a lot less than home prices went up” during that period, said Paul Smith, executive director of the Rental Housing Association of Utah (formerly the Utah Apartment Association) which represents over 160,000 rental units in the state.

Smith said that homeownership in Utah reached as high as 75% in 2007 just before the Great Recession, but dropped to 65% after the downturn. He says that each percentage point increase or decrease of owner-occupied homes means a corresponding difference of 10,000 people leaving or entering the rental market. 

Right now the state is about 50,000 housing units short of demand. “Cities are not allowing builders to build enough units. It’s really put a crunch on supply and increased prices,” Smith said. 

Some 15,000 to 20,000 housing units are needed each year to keep up with the annual increase in the state’s population and Utahns looking to get into their own place. Only 5,000 to 10,000 are being constructed annually. “It’s going to take a long time to catch up,” Smith said. 

Smith praised West Valley City and Salt Lake City as being “more accommodating and pragmatic” in their approaches to allowing multi-family housing to be built than some suburban communities where an attitude of NIMBYism is more prevalent among some residents and city governments. Some localities even experience what Smith says is referred to as BANANA, an acronym for “build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything.” 

“Unfortunately, the cities get a lot of political pressure to resist building of all kinds, especially lower-income or high-density housing, whether it’s ownership or rental,” he said. 

As for the Timberlane project at the south end of Valley Fair, Smith said similar multi-family developments have gone up around University Place (formerly University Mall) in Orem and The District in South Jordan and have been successful because of their proximity to shopping and transportation. He hopes for the same for Back 9 with its abundance of shopping and dining options and the nearby UTA TRAX and bus station. “It’s got a lot of advantages,” Smith added.