Development Projects

Sugar Town: Snelgrove Development Will Change What’s Left of Sugar House

The 323-unit apartment and retail project ― to be named Sugar Town ― will undoubtedly change the look and feel of Sugar House neighborhood. 


A rendering of the proposed Sugar Town Development. Image courtesy of the Architecture Belgique, Inc.

If you are a longtime Sugar Houser you probably remember the old Snelgrove’s Ice cream shop. With a long bar and old-fashioned milkshake machines, It felt like something out of a Jimmy Stewart movie. The Snelgrove family sold the business and property making it  the Dreyer’s Ice cream factory in the early 1990s. Today another new chapter is coming to the Snelgrove’s property. A proposed five-story, high-density development slated for the former Snelgrove’s Ice Cream property could either enhance the forlorn block of 800 East and 21st South or destroy what’s left of the eclectic, artsy flavor of Sugar House.

It all depends on whom you ask. But the 323-unit apartment and retail project to be named Sugar Town will undoubtedly change the look and feel of the neighborhood. 

Several Sugar House residents left written comments regarding Sugar Town, Christopher Tartaro among them, stating, “We are extremely disappointed to see that yet another oversized apartment complex is going in our once quaint neighborhood … The traffic is already horrendous. There will not be enough parking for at least two cars per unit, and it will overflow into our streets that are already packed.”

Bonnie Remington also weighed in: “This development would ensure that I don’t have available parking in front of my home. It looks like you have Commonwealth (Avenue) eating welllllll into my backyard with a sidewalk, not to mention my garage and fence would have to be demolished if your renderings are accurate.”

Obviously, several details still need to be ironed out. 

In her February 22 letter to the Salt Lake Planning Commission, Judi Short vice-chair of the Sugar House Community Council described the project. It will include: 

  • 323 total units (including 42 micro units, 38 2-BR and 188 studio and 1-BR)
  • 55 units would be priced at 80 percent of area median income
  • Almost 59,000 square feet of community gathering space
  • 12,800 square feet of commercial space
  • 404 off-street parking spaces 319 for tenants, 85 for the new liquor store
  • Easy access to the Sugar House Streetcar, and buses that run every 15 minutes
  • Onsite liquor store 
  • Two covered walkways to get from one block to the next
  • Inside bicycle storage
  • Keeps the iconic ice cream cone, SNELGROVE letters and sign as exterior markings

“This is a great place to be, within walking distance of groceries and a drug store, the Sprague Library, many restaurants, and a few blocks from the Sugar House Streetcar, which makes needing a car less necessary,” Short said in her letter. 

However, she also shared several concerns that need to be addressed as the project progresses.

“You can see from the comments that much of the concern is about traffic. There is a disconnect between the narrow roads and the zoning of the land which calls for more density than we currently have,” Short said, noting that a group of high school students have been tasked with compiling a redesign of 21st South from 700 East to 1300 East. 

Short suggested loading docks for residents moving in their furniture, and brought up potential complexities associated with routine garbage collection. She also asked for appropriate exterior lighting that would keep crime in check but not invade nearby homes.

“We really like this project and look forward to having it in the community as long as our conditions can be met,” Short said in her letter to Salt Lake City’s Planning Commission.

During their February 24 meeting, Planning Commission members voted unanimously to recommend that the Salt Lake City Council approve rezoning the property so that Sugar Town can proceed.

To urban planner, architect and former Salt Lake City Councilmember Soren Simonsen, “these kinds of dense developments require that we’re investing in other kinds of transportation and mobility, like bicycles and pedestrian/bike infrastructure and better transit.”

While Sugar House has some of that infrastructure, Simonsen said much more is needed “to really make urban lifestyle and urban living successful.”

Simonsen, who grew up outside of Utah, related fond memories of going to Snelgrove’s for ice cream during visits to his grandparents in nearby Holladay. 

“It was just such a favorite,” he said. But that use is likely no longer viable. Simonsen described the large manufacturing plant behind Snelgrove’s as “a fish out of water” because of the neighborhood development that built up around it over the years.  

The property’s current zoning a remnant from the past allows for anything from manufacturing to a big box store, Simonsen said. The requested zone change to “Business District Mixed-Use-Neighborhood Scale” would allow for higher density. The affordable housing units come as a trade-off for the developer getting to add an extra floor.

The rezone request goes next to the Salt Lake City Council for approval. Council member Amy Fowler, who represents Sugar House, said it should come up for discussion in the next couple of months after the city’s budget talks conclude.

No one has reached out to her yet with comments or concerns about Sugar Town, Fowler said. But she voiced confidence in the process and in Mark Isaac, who represents the development and has worked on several large-scale projects that have been completed in Sugar House.

“I think that generally Mark does a pretty good job of community outreach and making sure people’s concerns are answered before a project gets started,” Fowler said. “My understanding is they’re including some affordable housing and we desperately need that in Sugar House.”

View project drawings here

View outdoor amenities here


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