Commission approves plan to turn iconic Salt Lake creperie into condos

The exterior of Coachman’s Dinner and Pancake House on April 19, 2021. The Salt Lake City Planning Commission has approved a plan to demolish the old restaurant for a new mixed-use housing complex. (KSL NewsRadio)

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SALT LAKE CITY — The owner of Coachman’s Dinner and Pancake House thinks Salt Lake residents will be pleasantly surprised by the future of the closed restaurant location.

And the Salt Lake City Planning Commission agrees.

The current restaurant and other spaces along State Street near 1300 South will be demolished to make way for new condominium and retail space.

A pair of 65-foot-tall mixed-use buildings with a skybridge connecting one of the buildings to a parking area on the second level would add 94 living units, in addition to nearly 26,000 square feet of living space. retail on the ground floor and an underground parking structure with space for nearly 250 vehicles.

A rendering of the proposed condominium complex on the site of the closed Coachman's Dinner and Pancake House on State Street at 1300 South in Salt Lake City.
A rendering of the proposed condominium complex on the site of the closed Coachman’s Dinner and Pancake House on State Street at 1300 South in Salt Lake City. (Photo: Salt Lake City Planning Commission)

Mike Nikols, owner of the property and former Coachman, said there will be a patio outside the north building that can be used as a food court or outdoor seating for a restaurant.

“I think it will be good. … It will be about one of the few patios that can be used for most of the year,” he told the commission, ahead of their vote on the plan on Wednesday. .

It’s unclear when the project will begin, but Nikols told the committee he “can’t wait” for it to come to fruition at the end of the meeting.

Coachman’s announced its closure in April 2021, a month after the Salt Lake City Council approved a motion to rezon the property, which was requested by Nikols. The rezoning allowed for new development with a maximum height of 50 to 65 feet.

Early plans for a new 112-unit mixed-use development reached the Salt Lake City Planning Commission in December, but were filed to clarify questions about unit mixes, vehicle access on State Street and the sidewalks near the facade of the proposed building.

That didn’t deter Nikols, who said Wednesday he thought the end result was better than the original design.

“I think the original concept was great. This one is much better,” he told the planning commission. “We definitely have a better set of plans.”

A rendering of the proposed condominium complex compared to a previous design on the site of the closed Coachman's Dinner and Pancake House on State Street at 1300 South in Salt Lake City.
A rendering of the proposed condominium complex compared to a previous design on the site of the closed Coachman’s Dinner and Pancake House on State Street at 1300 South in Salt Lake City. (Photo: Salt Lake City Planning Commission)

One of the questions concerned the length of the building, which has since been split into two structures connected by an air bridge, explained the project’s architect, Ryan Mackowiak. They also adjusted the areas around the buildings to make them friendly to people walking around the area.

As for its spot on State Street, Price said the Utah Department of Transportation, which oversees State Street, has no objections to the proposed access to the road, but will not give final approval until the city ​​planning commission will not have approved the project. This is why the project was approved on the condition that the UDOT be satisfied at the time of the issuance of the building permit.

Although the 94 housing units are 18 fewer than those originally offered last year, they will contain a mix of unit sizes. The plan calls for 23 one-bedroom units, 55 two-bedroom units and 16 three-bedroom units.

This distribution is actually important for the housing shortage in the city and county, says Dejan Eskic, senior fellow at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. Institute experts alerted the Salt Lake City Council earlier this year that there were an alarming number of studio and one-bedroom units compared to multi-bedroom options.

This, says Eskic, can oversupply the market with small options that do little to address the region’s housing shortage and cost issues. He told KSL NewsRadio’s “Dave and Dujanvoic” on Thursday that the county’s unit shortage had risen to 45,000 in 2020, and that number continues to rise.

It has displaced some, while other households are doubling down just to afford housing. The group also released a report earlier this year that found apartments had a 2% vacancy rate, which Eskic says is well below a healthy 4%. The lower the rate, the more difficult it is to find a place and the faster the rental rates increase.

This is why new housing units and housing options are important.

Salt Lake City senior planner Katia Price said the plan for the former Coachman site will give families a better opportunity to own the multi-bedroom units. Wesley Goldberg, a real estate agent working with the project, called it “incredibly exciting” from a sales perspective.

“We’re really doing something that Salt Lake City has never seen before, for all intents and purposes. We’re delivering a high-end luxury condo product at an affordable price,” he said, saying the designs will be similar. to units near City Creek but not as expensive.

Eskic adds that the location of projects is also important. In this case, it is a project that directly engages many existing infrastructures.

As the city considers new housing projects in the future, he thinks more should look into the concept. This is especially true for older retail spaces like Coachman’s.

“I think we get what we pay for as a community because you’re often close by. You don’t have to put in new sewers, new roads, etc. You can sort of plug into things close by, so there’s big savings there,” he said. “A lot of times you think of open space… so when we can repurpose old run-down businesses, I think that’s a good thing.”

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Carter Williams is an award-winning journalist who covers general news, the outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com. He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a transplant from Utah via Rochester, New York.

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