In January, Boston-based developer Kensington Investment Co. and Salt Lake City-based general contractor Jacobsen Construction Co. broke ground on what is set to become the tallest building in Utah.
When complete, the 40-story Astra Tower in Salt Lake City will stand 450 feet tall and include 372 apartment units as well as private parking, ground-floor retail and 40,000 square feet of amenity space. Unit plans include studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments, with the top two floors reserved for penthouse suites. The project team is seeking LEED Gold certification for the building, and intends to integrate WELL Building concepts into its operation once complete in fall 2024.
The building’s post-tensioned concrete structure is designed to minimize damage and risk to residents in the event of an earthquake. The south and southeast facades will feature a floor-to-ceiling glass wall section facing the Salt Lake Valley and Wasatch Front, maximizing scenic views for residents. The remainder of the facade will be composed of a variation of glass-fiber reinforced concrete, set off with recessed windows.
KIC purchased the 0.69-acre development site, formerly home to a Carl’s Jr. restaurant, in 2018. While the developer declined to provide the cost of the project, Cushman & Wakefield estimated the total price tag (including land) at $260.4 million.
"Astra Tower will show what Salt Lake City is going to become in the future," CEO Ed Lewis said during the groundbreaking. "This building will be remarkable for much more than its height. Its completion will set a new benchmark for upscale downtown living."
The 22nd floor will house the pool terrace, featuring a swimming pool, a hot tub and a spa with saunas, treatment rooms and a plunge pool. The 40th floor is an open rooftop terrace for resident use only, featuring lounge and socialization areas, grilling stations and big screen TVs.
Other amenities include a fitness center and studio and a shared gourmet kitchen.
Kristin Matthews, vice president of consulting in Salt Lake City for John Burns Real Estate Consulting, noted that Astra Tower is one of a wave of new high rises coming to Salt Lake City's urban core. Recent projects include a Hyatt Regency hotel and the Liberty Sky Apartment Complex, and more tall towers, including Main Street Apartments and Domain Tower, are currently in development.
Currently, Utah's tallest building is the Wells Fargo Center office tower, built in 1998, also in Salt Lake City.
"Most of the existing high-rises are older stock with dated construction and designs," Matthews said. "The new clean lines of these contemporary builds are favored by most and our skyline is set to change quickly."
Matthews expects strong job growth in the coming years in both Salt Lake City and nearby Provo, which is home to the local tech employment center known as the "Silicon Slopes."
"The Salt Lake City and Provo markets are experiencing a boom in population and residential growth as people leave more expensive higher density metros," Matthews said. "In addition to residential, these high rises will provide new vibrant retail, restaurants and entertainment, just what downtown residents value most."