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Salt Lake City cancels purchase of Simpson Avenue site

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City cancels purchase of Simpson Avenue site

By Marjorie Cortez | Posted - Feb. 28, 2017 at 10:00 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — After last week's announcement that Salt Lake City was scrubbing plans for two of four homeless resource centers in the city, officials announced Tuesday the purchase of the site at 653 E. Simpson Ave. has been canceled.

Mayor Jackie Biskupski on Tuesday directed the city's real estate team to notify the owners of the Sugar House site that the city would be canceling the purchase and sale agreement. The city had originally planned to place a resource center at the site to serve families experiencing homelessness.

Earlier the city had agreed to pay $7 million for the site, which currently operates as a child care center. According to a statement issued by the city Tuesday, the transaction is in a "diligence period and (the city) has the option to cancel the contract at its sole discretion for any reason."

“Based on the size and location of the parcel, the Simpson Avenue site was always most appropriate as a location for the smaller family resource center. With the new proposal, the need for this type of property has ended,” said Biskupski in a statement.

“This new proposal also allows us to turn our focus and resources to the areas where these new spaces of hope will be built. The Ballpark and Central City neighborhoods have already demonstrated their willingness to engage in productive dialogue to help those most in need in the city.”

The city has also dropped plans to to build a resource center at 648 W.100 South, which is owned by the Redevelopment Agency. The site could be used to expand affordable housing options in the city, according to the city's statement.

Under the revised plan for homeless resource centers, only two shelters will be built in Salt Lake City and a third will be placed elsewhere in Salt Lake County.

Shelters planned for 275 W. High Ave. and 131 E. 700 South will be larger, capped at 200 beds instead of 150, according to the plan announced Friday.

The plan, announced jointly by city, county and state leaders, also calls for closure of the Road Home's downtown shelter by June 30, 2019.

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Marjorie Cortez

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