Developers of a new skyscraper in downtown Salt Lake City want to push the skyline even higher.
Backers of Kensington Tower, a luxury residential project proposed at the northwest corner of 200 South and State Street, are asking city planners to lift a 375-foot cap set by existing rules for that downtown corner lot.
With at least 39 floors, the building is designed to rise a total of 448 feet, including a high-speed elevator shaft serving top-floor penthouses, according to initial plans by Kensington Investment Company, a Boston-based real estate investment firm with offices in Park City.
If approved, Kensington Tower would rank among the city’s tallest buildings, exceeding the existing Wells Fargo Center (422 feet) and the LDS Church Office Building (420 feet), as well as the tower to be known as 95 State Street at City Creek, a 395-foot office building now going up at 100 South and State State, west of the downtown Harmon’s Grocery.
The added height developers are seeking would make room for an exclusive open-air rooftop terrace atop Kensington Tower, while other low- and mid-rise portions of the tower will help mitigate shadows cast over nearby buildings, developers say in documents submitted at City Hall.
Kensington Tower has been designed by HKS, a Dallas-based architectural firm with offices in Salt Lake City.
Along with 24-hour concierge and a range of personal services for residents, the tower will also offer top-flight amenities on three separate floors — rooftop swimming pool, club house, park, sky lounge and a terrace with panoramic views — for what developers call “a unique vertical urban community.”
Developers are promising the tower will help the capital city “recruit new professional talent and attract top companies to Utah” and “greatly enhance commercial and economic development within the civic core, as well as the broader Salt Lake region.”
Other features include a two-story lobby facing State Street and a six-level parking garage.
The building’s exterior would be primarily glass and glass-fiber reinforced concrete, and tentatively with vertical photovoltaic fins to supply solar-powered lighting in the building’s public and common areas. South-facing building facades would have floor-to-ceiling glass walls, affording views of the Salt Lake Valley and Wasatch Mountains, documents suggest.
A western portion of the tower, meanwhile, would only stand 83 feet tall, requiring an addition waiver from Salt Lake City zoning rules that now state corner buildings in parts of the central business district need to stand at least 100 feet high.
The two height modifications, developers said, “will allow the project to better relate to its immediate context and human scale while making a distinct expression on the city skyline.”
Those waivers and some additional zoning exceptions on the tower’s ground-level setbacks to make way for parking and an outdoor dining area along 200 South are scheduled for a Nov. 12 review by the city’s Planning Commission.
The building’s 0.69-acre footprint — located east of the newly revamped Regent Street — is currently occupied by a Carl’s Jr. fast-food restaurant and adjoining surface parking lot.
Kensington Investment Company is run by the wealthy Lewis family, based in Boston. In addition to real estate investing in New England and Utah, company chairman Alan Lewis and family members also own and operate Grand Circle Corporation, parent company to Grand Circle Travel, which runs cruise lines for seniors.
Kensington Tower is at least the sixth new skyscraper being pursued in the downtown Salt Lake City area — and one of four proposed along a three-block stretch of State Street.
Other State Street projects include a 24-story luxury apartment tower called Liberty Sky, underway nearby at 151 S. State Street; 95 State at City Creek, being built by City Creek Reserve, a development arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and a two-tower residential project at 255 S. State by Chicago-based developer Brinshore, with financial backing from the city’s Redevelopment Agency.
In terms of luxury high-rise living, Kensington Tower could pose direct competition with Liberty Sky, with its 300 high-end apartments and amenities including a rooftop pool, being built by Utah-based developers Cowboy Partners and The Boyer Co.
The downtown area also has at least a dozen midsize apartment building projects underway, adding to more than 20 sizable residential complexes built in Utah’s capital since 2011, as the city and state continue to see a boom in population growth.