Salt Lake City company breaks ground on Utah’s first Opportunity Zone investment

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Project leaders aim to begin preleasing Paperbox Lofts in late 2020. Photo courtesy of PEG Companies.

A mixed-use apartment complex under construction in downtown Salt Lake City is the first Utah development to take advantage of the federal Opportunity Zone Investment program created by the December 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Salt Lake City dignitaries, development professionals and members of the public gathered with PEG Companies to break ground on Paperbox Lofts in late March. Located less than one block from the Vivint Smart Home Arena at 160 South 300 West, the two-acre development will consist of 195 apartment units divided between three buildings, retail and restaurant space, and a 10,000-square foot public “pocket park.”

PEG and its development partner, Clearwater Homes Utah, designated 39 apartment units as affordable housing for people earning 60 percent or below the area’s median income. The apartment complex is located in a Qualified Opportunity Zone, one of about 8,700 federally designated geographical areas throughout the U.S. established to spur economic growth by extending tax incentives to investors in those projects.

“Not only does Paperbox Lofts showcase PEG’s great work as a leader in the Opportunity Zone space, it is also a great example of this exciting, innovative program at work. Policy experts designed this program to stimulate economic activity across the country – and that’s exactly what you are seeing here,” said PEG CEO Cameron Gunter. “While many real estate developers across the country are rushing to identify QOZs where they can build, PEG is fortunate to be operating well ahead of the curve. We saw the merits of the program from its inception, allowing us to be first to market with projects like this.”

As part of an ongoing effort to alleviate parking woes in the area, PEG and Clearwater have confirmed plans to construct the first standalone mechanical car lift system in Utah, a 7-level, 112-parking space system that will maximize space at Paperbox Lofts by stacking and organizing vehicles.

Paperbox Lofts will be the first development in Utah to utilize this automated parking structure by CityLift. Photo courtesy of PEG.

“When tenants arrive, they will pull in and park on one of six platforms. After drivers exit the structure, their cars will be transported vertically and horizontally to their designated spots,” explained PEG Development Manager Matt Krambule. “When tenants want to retrieve their vehicles for use, they will simply swipe their unique key fobs on an operator panel, and the system will deliver their cars the same way it parked them.”

“Salt Lake City understands that parking is top-of-mind for many of its residents,” stated City Council Member and RDA Board Chair Amy Fowler. “We applaud this project’s innovative approach to making the best use of a small amount of space by investing in the first car-stacker system in the State of Utah.”

Clearwater and PEG have invested heavily in downtown Salt Lake City. Directly south of the Paperbox Lofts property, Clearwater converted former Westgate Business Center into Paragon Station Lofts. In 2016, PEG completed the Courtyard by Marriott and Downtown Hyatt House, which sit slightly north of the Paperbox site. Additionally, just across the street from the property stand Salt Lake City’s first ever AC Marriott Hotel and adjacent Milagro Apartments, a 170-unit multi-family residential complex – both of which are PEG Companies developments.

The co-developers also have plans to improve surrounding roads and walkways as part of the project.

Project leaders aim to begin preleasing Paperbox Lofts in late 2020.

Founded in 2003, PEG Companies owns and manages over 35 hospitality assets across the U.S. and Canada, with over 4,230 multifamily housing units and additional office, retail, and industrial space across the West.

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