Salt Lake City’s newest apartment tower intentionally sticks out in the city

Jun 16, 2024, 8:46 AM

Brokers look over the view as they tour the Worthington Residences in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, ...

Brokers look over the view as they tour the Worthington Residences in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, when Convexity Properties, a DRW Company and full-service real estate investment firm, announced its grand opening. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — At 335 feet, the new Worthington Residences tower stands out in Salt Lake City’s ever-growing skyline.

It’s the tallest building east of the city’s central downtown district and the city’s tallest rental apartment high-rise on the market right now, creating picturesque views of the Wasatch Mountains and downtown core from almost every part of the building.

“Because of that, we’re able to capitalize on these amazing views,” says Jessica Minton, senior vice president for Convexity Properties, the developer behind the residential tower, as she points out toward the vista of rolling green foothills from the 12th-floor shared amenity space.

The Worthington is the Chicago-based developer’s first project in Utah, offering 359 total units in various sizes ranging from 460- to 580-square-foot studios to 1,300-square-foot, or more, three-bedroom apartments. The 31-story project picked up steam in 2021 and was eventually built over the old Tavernacle Social Club at 275 S. 200 East.

It’s now up with its first residents moving in this month.

So what’s it like inside?

Each room is chic, with at least enough space for a large bed, but also scaled back to avoid being too trendy, Minton said. This is meant to offer something renters want but not something that could become dated as trends often change regularly.

The shared amenity space — accessible to all renters — offers the types of luxuries that many apartment landlords have turned to as they try to draw in renters. There’s a heated pool with a panoramic view of the city, a sauna and a fitness center overlooking downtown, as well as an open space for events.

A view of downtown Salt Lake City from a bedroom window inside The Worthington Residences. The apartment high-rise opened this month. (Carter Williams, KSL.com)

Back on the ground floor, Minton shows off space that will be used for a grab-and-go market, next to a dog-washing station, by a bicycle repair station in an area that also includes a massive room for ski/snowboard and bike storage. Many of these fit renter preferences, based on surveys of the company’s other properties and expectations of what people who live in Utah may want, she says.

While vacant now, the goal is that a store or restaurant will move into the 5,800-square-foot ground-floor space designed for public retail.

“We view ourselves as one-of-a-kind right now because — in our opinion — there isn’t anything like this on the market such as the product we’re delivering,” Minton said, explaining why she believes the new tower stands out from the city apartment competition. “We don’t want to come in and do something cookie-cutter.”

The Chicago developer chose to enter the Salt Lake market because all the data and trends it relies on to make project decisions pointed here, she added. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the fastest-growing state and its economy is growing, which is drawing in lots of development interest.

And, at the time the project began, there weren’t many high-rises like they had in mind on the market.

The Worthington Residences are pictured in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. Convexity Properties, a DRW Company and full-service real estate investment firm, announced the grand opening. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Their first product won’t solve Salt Lake City’s affordable housing shortage. All 359 units are meant to remain at market rate with starting prices ranging from $1,495 a month for a studio to $10,000 a month for a three-bedroom apartment. That’s before any amenities fees are tacked onto the rental cost.

But it does offer a mix of apartment types with 104 two-bedroom and eight three-bedroom options folded into 206 one-bedroom and 41 studio apartments, becoming the latest complex to offer a range of unit types after experts had warned in 2022 that the county’s very low apartment vacancy rate was driving up rental costs. A lack of multi-bedroom units was one concern brought up, at the time.

As for the view, it’s a selling point Convexity Properties plans to hang onto as long as it can. Minton says there’s now a “friendly competition” in the city over height, as high-rises appear to be the new trend in downtown development.

Liberty Sky became the city’s first luxury high-rise complex when it opened in 2021. Astra Tower, located within a few blocks of both Liberty Sky and the Worthington, will ultimately take over as the tallest residential tower and overall building in the city when it opens in August.

Work is underway to convert the historic South Temple Tower into a residential high-rise by the same company planning a high-rise on Main Street.

“It’s a part of the natural evolution of the downtown residential market,” said Dan Lofgren, president of Cowboy Partners, which developed Liberty Sky, in 2022, during a University of Utah Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute discussion on Salt Lake County apartments.

It’s one reason why the Salt Lake City Downtown Alliance projected the downtown population to double between 2022 and 2025.

“Our downtown is literally rising but in so many different ways,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, during the Downtown Alliance’s annual “State of Downtown” event last year.

Meanwhile, Minton said Convexity Properties will continue to monitor the market to see if it will expand operations in the Salt Lake City or overall Utah markets.

That may depend on when the housing market picks up, after higher interest rates were established in 2022 to combat inflation.

“I think it’s a gem of a state and city,” she said. “I’d love to do more and I think if the opportunity comes about and if it makes sense, we’d 100% do it.”

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Salt Lake City’s newest apartment tower intentionally sticks out in the city