Provo real estate development company PEG Cos. has broken ground on the first Utah project to take advantage of the federal “opportunity zone” investment program created by the December 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Paperbox Lofts is a two-acre development at 160 S. 300 W. in Salt Lake City that will consist of 195 apartment units divided amongthree buildings, along with retail and restaurant space and a 10,000-square foot “pocket park” open to the public.

The project will offer 39 apartment units designated as affordable housing for people earning 60 percent or below the area’s median income. PEG and its development partner, Clearwater Homes Utah, said that Paperbox Lofts is located in a “qualified opportunity zone” (QOZ), one of about 8,700 federally designated geographical areas throughout the United States established to spur economic growth by extending generous 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.”

In an 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 seven-level, 112-parking space system that will maximize space at Paperbox Lofts by stacking and organizing vehicles.

“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.”

PEG and Clearwater are no strangers to the downtown Salt Lake City area. Directly south of the Paperbox Lofts property, Clearwater converted the former Westgate Business Center into Paragon Station Lofts. In 2016, PEG completed the Courtyard by Marriott and Downtown Hyatt House, which sit just north of the Paperbox site. Additionally, just across the street from the property are the AC Marriott Hotel and adjacent Milagro Apartments, a 170-unit multi-family residential complex, both of which are PEG developments.

“The Paperbox Lofts project exemplifies the kind of thoughtful connectivity the city strives for in its redevelopment projects,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski at the ground-breaking event for the project. “The addition of both a one-way street and mid-block walkway creating connections to 300 West and 200 South will not only increase access to the reborn Gateway District, but also allow for more overall walkability and activation in the west downtown area.”

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

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