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Affordable housing to go up where old Public Safety Building sat

The Magnolia, a 65-unit affordable housing building, will be constructed on the site of the old Public Safety building in downtown Salt Lake City. (PHOTO: John Wojcik, KSL Newsradio.)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — City leaders broke ground Monday on a new affordable housing option — aimed at helping people transition out of homelessness.

The six-story Magnolia building, on the site of the old Public Safety Building, will provide affordable housing for those with few other options.

“The Magnolia will be 65 units of permanent supportive housing for those exiting homelessness,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “[The Magnolia] is a critical part of the redevelopment of the old Public Safety Building project on 300 East.”

She said a number of different things needed to come into place to make this idea a reality.

“A $1.5 million loan from the city’s housing trust fund [and] a commitment from Shelter the Homeless and the Road Home to operate this space of hope” were instrumental, Biskupski said.

The building will also include 1,500 square feet of commercial and social space for residents, which will be managed by the Road Home.

Preston Cochrane, Shelter the Homeless Executive Director, took a second to reflect on the years of collaboration amongst local agencies.

“This has been a herculean effort on many fronts,” he said. “It’s taken us multi-years, over three years to get to this point.”

The Salt Lake City Planning Commission first approved the project back in November of 2017. Biskupski says it’s vital for the city to do everything possible for their most vulnerable citizens.

“These spaces of opportunity will not be on the margins of our city, but right here in the heart of our city,” she said.

Plans are for construction to start next Monday and doors to open 15 months later.

“Home is not just where the heart is, it’s where opportunity and hope is created,” Biskupski said.