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Sugar House businesses surprised by plans to demolish building for apartments

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Posted at 9:30 PM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 23:31:27-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A strip of shops in Sugar House is slated to be demolished and replaced by apartment buildings.

The developer tells FOX 13 News that they’ve been working on this project with the property owner for over three years, but businesses say the news they’d be forced to move just came out of the blue.

Haight and Ashbury Home consignment store has been the home to new, old and vintage items for 10 years now.

“We’ve kind of grown into this community,” said owner Moses Katoa. “They’re a part of us, we’re a part of them.”

Moses and his wife, Sisi, found out Monday through a news article that they would have to move their family store.

“Obviously this is still shocking to us. Just cause we’ve built this from the ground up,” said Sisi.

The shop is located near 700 East and Simpson Avenue, right next to Cooperhive Vintage and Kings Cottage Gallery and Art School.

Soon, the stores will be demolished, and in their place, a 72-unit moderate income “artist lofts” apartment complex built by Lotus Properties.

The Katoas aren’t surprised, saying apartments keep popping up across town.

“We’ve literally seen at least three places that we thought about trying to buy and next thing it’s an apartment,” said Moses.

Copperhive Vintage posted on their Instagram story on Monday writing, “Not the news we wanted while we are recovering from COVID. Heartbroken to have heard it from a news report and not our landlords. Please be kind with us as we figure out what our action plan is on a new space for Copperhive.”

The business owners say their landlord hasn’t notified them when they’ll need to move out.

“Honestly we don’t even know how much time we have,” said Sisi.

Even though they’ll be closing the door to this location, the Katoas say this isn’t the end for their vendors and customers.

The couple already has a new building picked out that was previously planned to be an expansion of their current store. Once renovated, that site will then become their primary location once they move out of 700 East and Simpson.

“As shocking as it is, and uncomfortable, we’ll get there,” said Sisi. “We will navigate through this and figure it out.”

Joe Torman, the president of construction and development with Lotus Company, sent FOX 13 News this statement: “Lotus is committed to developing beautiful Utah projects that encompass community, congregation, and that support our local & small businesses. Lotus’ projects range from moderate income LIHTC workforce housing projects with integrated learning centers and extensive community resources to master planned mixed-use developments with many new retail and office concepts.”

The statement explains that developers explored the possibility of incorporating stores and offices along with the apartments at that location.

“Unfortunately, due to the heavily trafficked 700 East arterial road along with the lack of a deceleration lane or access to south-bound traffic on to 700 East it became extremely difficult to retain the retail and office space in the new development," Torman said.

He went on to write that, “New moderate income artist lofts along with ample community resources and amenities will be added to the site to enhance the project and surrounding area.”