Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image Soren Simonsen talks about his plans for the Broadway Hotel in Newtown. Simonsen is part of a partnership working on getting financing to build houses in vacant lots neighboring the hotel. Simonsen would also like to renovate the boarded up, dilapidated hotel.

August 30, 2018
Developers still optimistic about Broadway Hotel project

Developers continue to work with Tooele City on a plan to revitalize Broadway Avenue between Utah Avenue and Vine Street.

The Tooele City Council passed an ordinance on Aug. 15 to amend provisions relating to the mixed-use Broadway zoning district.

According to the ordinance, AmericaWest Investments, LLC, wants to restore the Broadway Hotel and several other blighted properties in Newtown on Broadway Avenue.

“The project plans have not changed substantially over the past decade,” said developer Soren Simonsen in an e-mail response. “It remains essentially a workforce housing project, involving the renovation of a historically significant building, and construction of new housing on adjacent property.”

He indicated the project bogged down in 2007 and early 2008 because housing markets in Utah and across the United States crashed.

Simonsen said financing for the project is still relatively complex, with some remaining hurdles to jump. The projected cost is $8 million, according to Simonsen.

“If we are able to get the required financing in place, our current schedule is to close on the financing loans in late 2018 or early 2019, with construction beginning in the spring of 2019,” according to his email response.

“This is still a somewhat fluid schedule, but we’re more optimistic about the project than we have been since the market crash in 2008,” he added.

The company proposes to restore the hotel with about 30 apartments and to redevelop the other properties with about six new residential buildings that would include six new apartments in each building, for a total of 54 new and redeveloped dwelling units.

The Tooele City Planning Commission forwarded a positive recommendation to the City Council on proposed changes to the zone for the project during its Aug. 8 meeting.

Tooele City Attorney Roger Baker said he was one of the first individuals to see the proposal for this project back in February 2004, according to minutes of the Aug. 8 meeting.

Baker said the project had gone through several market corrections that had made funding difficult. 

He said the new overlay zoning ordinance for the Broadway District would allow for the necessary flexibility to help the project to go forward as a unique, historic part of the community that has experienced a decline.

The ordinance amendment is for the Mixed-Used Broadway District only, and does not apply to other areas in Tooele City.

Six of the main changes to the zoning for the Broadway development include:

• A maximum size lot increase from 25,000 square feet. A large lot size would be allowed to provide for mixed use including commercial development on the same lot.

• The possibility of changing setbacks from 20 feet to 0 feet after approval by the planning commission. 

• An increase in maximum density to go above 16 units per acre.

• Existing building heights shall be permitted above the the maximum height limit of two stories. The Broadway Hotel is three stories high.

• Minimum lot sizes may be reduced from 850 square feet down to 400 square feet for studio and one-bedroom units, and 600 square feet for two bedroom units.

• Minimum parking layout widths can be reduced from 9 feet wide to 8 feet, 6 inches wide.

In their proposal materials presented to Tooele City, the developers indicated that Broadway Heritage Village is a proposal to redevelop and help revitalize a blighted and underused mixed-use district, in an area of Tooele historically known as “Newtown.”

Though the surrounding blocks are part of a stable, working-class neighborhood, the Broadway commercial district is in need of improvements to better contribute to the livability and long-term vitality of the neighborhood, according to the proposal.

In addition to the hotel property on the west side of Broadway Avenue, the project includes development of two parcels to the south of the hotel, and a large parcel of land across from the hotel on the east side of Broadway Avenue.

Simonsen said Kevin Peterson, managing member of America West Investments, is the developer and owner of the Broadway Hotel and adjacent properties. He said the actual recorded property ownership is through an affiliated subsidiary company that was set up when the property was first purchased.

Simonsen and others are minor partners in the project. He said Peterson has several other partners associated with him through America West Investments.

“We’re all working toward a common goal of getting this project done,” Simonsen said.

 

Mark Watson

Sports Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Mark directs all editorial coverage of sports in addition to reporting on a wide range of events from high school football to international racing. He has a wealth of journalism experience, having worked for four other newspapers in the state. Mark grew up in Tooele County and graduated from Grantsville High School and Brigham Young University.

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