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Downtown Salt Lake is Hot Market for Condos

Downtown Salt Lake is Hot Market for Condos



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Brian Muir makes an 80-mile round trip to a job in Provo but doesn't mind the commute from his downtown condominium.

He enjoys living near The Gateway Mall, EnergySolutions Arena and the summer farm market at Pioneer Park.

"I like being able to walk across the street to shop, eat or see a movie," Muir said.

The streets, shops and theaters could be getting crowded in the years ahead. Real-estate watchers estimate that more than 1,000 condos, town homes and loft units will be finished downtown in the next 15 months.

Some buyers are putting down a deposit before developers break ground.

One development is selling 400-square-foot units that start at $150,000. Most condos being built are priced at $300,000 and up, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Massage therapist Dennis Record has reserved a live-and-work unit at Broadway Park Lofts, where he plans to operate a massage studio. He said the new condos are going to change the feel of downtown.

"Salt Lake is not going to be the same city in another eight years. It's going to be a lot cooler," Record said.

Even with all the construction, more housing is on the drawing board. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will build condos as part of the City Creek Center project, although the number is not settled.

Spokesman Dale Bills said the church might build 300 or as many 700, depending on market conditions.

James Wood, director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Utah, said the condo market has a volatile history. From the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, sales were very sluggish.

But Wood sees positive factors: attractive interest rates, strong economy and population growth.

"They may not all sell out as fast as the developers want them to," Wood said. "But in general, I think they are going to be successful."

------ Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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