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South Salt Lake Journal

Building for the future of downtown South Salt Lake

Jan 06, 2023 10:00AM ● By Jesse M. Gonzalez

City officials and project leaders celebrate the groundbreaking new work that will supply South Salt Lake with a contemporary residential and retail building. (Jesse M. Gonzalez/City Journals)

South Salt Lake is a city of continuous change and sporadic growth. With a list of shops, breweries and restaurants, one can find themselves lost in the layout of a city that is constantly developing and building and rebuilding. With an influx of new and upcoming residents in the area, the leaders of South Salt Lake are preparing for a new model of accommodation.  

In the center of South Salt Lake, known as the Downtown East Streetcar District, and just off of Burton Avenue and Main Street, near the TRAX line and other residential conveniences, lies a large stretch of dirt that will one day become the first of many revitalization projects to take place: One Burton.  

One Burton will be an eight-story residential and retail hotspot for the people of downtown South Salt Lake looking for a modern live/work/play environment that will consist of 50 two-bedroom units, 103 one-bedroom units along with 27 studio units. Aside from the living quarters, amenities include an art gallery, a gym and spa, game room, conference rooms, shared dining and barbecue zones, not to mention a rooftop courtyard and a special events room that residents can rent out for social gatherings.

On Nov. 15, the team behind the finalization of the One Burton construction plans came together for a shovel turn and speeches from city officials, including Mayor Cherie Wood.

Daniel Rudofsky, one of the leaders of a New York-based real estate firm Abstract Development Group, celebrated the solidification of the efforts put into the planning of making One Burton a more tangible reality. “We’ve been working on this project for close to two years now,” Rudofsky said. “We engaged with construction company Jacobsen about two years, two and a half years, but we slowed down due to some sewer issues in the area.”

“It’s actually an interesting story: the developers of this area got together and are putting together a public infrastructure district and are building a sewer system for the area. It’s a whole different project. We’re funding the project through additional taxes.”

The project may have been held back by several months due to the complexities of the sewer system which hindered plans of ground construction, but the strategies needed to be set forth in order for the process to begin have been realized and cemented. “It’s tough to get 12 developers together to do anything, and the fact that we were able to get it done is an amazing process,” Rudofsky said.

With the site being close to I-15 and I-80, the location of One Burton may prove to be an ideal spot for residents who take public transportation on a daily basis.

“We are providing our tenants with a really nice and amenitized apartment building.  They’re going to love living here. They’re going to love the positions of the jobs, and then when they get home in the morning, or at the end of the day, they’re going to have a place to hang out downstairs at some of the retail stores below the apartment building.”

City officials say development is getting back on track as pandemic restrictions start to ease.

“Covid kind of slowed things down in development downtown and really getting projects up and going, but this is exciting because this is the first of eight. You’ll probably see groundbreakings for the next six months,” Wood said. “We really focused on allowing density for residential aspects.”

One of the major factors in supplying the residents of South Salt Lake more ample platforms to work from, to live from, would be to create a lasting impact for the growing city such as One Burton, a structure that could pose as the highlight of the community, so half apartment complex and half retail zone works to be an adequate combination. 

“We want this quadrant of the city; it doesn’t have a lot of residents in it, and we really wanted to be respectful of the transportation infrastructure that’s here with I-80 and I-15. We also have the streetcar S-Line here and TRAX. We really felt that if there was a place we could raise density limits in our community, this would be the place,” Wood said.

The plans to make the area more walkable and more vibrant are in motion for the future of South Salt Lake City. “We’re focusing on multi-use development, so commercial on the first level and residential above that. We’re really excited about this one. I grew up on Burton Avenue, just two blocks from here, so I love the name One Burton,” Wood said.

One Burton will be the first building to rise as plans for other similar constructions are underway.

Another issue that had been considered in the development of One Burton was the position of the billboard sign that is nearly in the center of the base and off the side of the highway. “Normally, something like a billboard could make it where you couldn’t develop something like an eight-story apartment complex but with the development and technology and the willingness to upgrade the billboard, we’re able to make it happen. It won’t intrude into the apartment at all,” Wood said.

“That was always considered of something that needed to be figured out. The developers were super excited about this new technology and excited to have figured out how to sort of build an L-shape around the billboard.”

Wood has been mayor of South Salt Lake for 13 years, and growing up in the area, she has seen some of the struggles that the city has faced. “I’ve worked for the city since I was 19, and one of our major struggles has always been that we don’t have an identity. No one knows that there’s a city of South Salt Lake. So, how do you change that and how do you build a community?”

Many people, especially those who are just moving to the Salt Lake City area, are without the knowledge that South Salt Lake isn’t just a neighborhood, and Wood has worked tirelessly to build a city that everyone will recognize.

“The downtown developments last for 50-plus years, and that is really what I felt we needed in a small community in an urban core. To plan it right, make it walkable, bring some vitality, some energy here. Places like after you come to some area, you’re like, ‘Oh, did you know that this is in South Salt Lake? It’s so cool. That type of thing,” Wood said. “So we really want to create our own destiny as a community.”