City council to rezone Howick Street lot for affordable housing projectAug 03, 2022 07:56PM ● By Sara Milano
By Sara Milano | [email protected]
Amid growing complaints from Salt Lake area residents about surging rent prices, Millcreek’s city council passed an ordinance in late June to rezone a vacant lot at 4101 S. Howick Street, clearing the path for affordable housing units to be built. The area had previously been designated for industrial and manufacturing uses and will now be zoned to accommodate mixed- use development of rental units.
The demand for affordable housing options in Millcreek as well as the greater Salt Lake region is especially pressing for low-to-moderate income residents. A 2018 housing study highlighted Millcreek’s need to create more diverse, affordable housing for Utah individuals and families at different stages of life.
The study noted that “approximately 45% of households in Millcreek have incomes of 80% area median income (AMI) or lower. Overall, there is a deficiency of 429 affordable Millcreek residences....Due to the population growth projected for Millcreek, it is anticipated that there will be a large demand for additional residences that are affordable to very low, low, and moderate-income households.”
Millcreek in particular has been slow to adapt to population booms and affordable housing challenges. The city was one of a handful of neighborhoods in the Greater Salt Lake region that had built zero new apartment units between 2000 and 2018, with the most new apartments built in Murray and Sandy.
The proposed project on South Howick Street will accommodate 150 housing units with between one and four bedrooms to be occupied by members of the same household. The housing project, which will be known as “the Howick,” aims to serve moderate-low-income residents with incomes of up to 60% of the AMI.
According to another 2019 analysis of the Salt Lake rental market published by the University of Utah’s Policy Institute, rent prices in Millcreek have increased 82% between 2000 and 2018, with the average rent in 2000 being $664 and the average rent 18 years later being $1,209. Even more alarming than this study’s figures is the data from the four years since the analysis was conducted. According to Rentcafe.com, the average rent price in Millcreek as of July 2022 is $1,670. If calculated using the same metrics as the University of Utah’s analysis, this figure would mark a 38% increase in rent for Millcreek tenants just in the last four years.
During a city council meeting about the rezoning permit, a resident asked what the rent prices would be for these rentals. Architect and planner Alisha Hammett responded that “the high end of the range will be $1,100 to $1,700 for a four bedroom unit, based on household income.” Hammett works for Shopworks Architecture, a Denver-based architecture firm partnering with the Community Development Corporation of Utah to build the housing units. The Community Development Corporation of Utah is a nonprofit based in Salt Lake City with a focus on housing stability. The nonprofit “builds new single- and multi-family homes, rehabilitates and preserves affordable housing…and revitalizes neighborhoods around the state.”
Shopworks’ proposal for the South Howick Street lot highlighted the connectedness of the area, noting its one-fourth mile distance to a TRAX station and one-half mile distance to the nearest bus stop. The zoning and conditional use permits will be submitted to the Utah Housing Corporation in October 2022 as a part of an application to receive Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Upon allocation of these credits, architects will return to the city council with a site plan for their approval.