Coachman’s restaurant may return as part of new Salt Lake City condo project
That is the “intention”, says the owner. The designs for a new 112-unit complex on State Street include space for a redesigned version of the popular diner.
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New plans for a 112-unit residential complex to replace the closed Coachman’s Dinner & Pancake House on State Street include plenty of space for a revamped version of the popular restaurant, the owner confirmed on Monday.
But whether that means a return to the well-known stacked hotcakes, fried chicken, and Greek salads of the vintage Salt Lake City restaurant is unclear, longtime owner Mike Nikols said.
“That was the intention; Let’s put it that way, ”said Nikols of Coachman’s reopening at 1301 S. State St., which closed its doors in April. “I just can’t say it’s 100%.”
The city agreed to rededicate the property earlier this year. As part of a start-up company called Reality Development, Nikols has since submitted designs for a six-story residential, office, and retail project anchored at that southeast corner of State Street and 1300 South and stretching south along the state.
The news that Coachman’s was ceasing to make room for redevelopment – a goodbye delivered by the restaurant’s iconic sign on State Street – drew a flurry of support from long-time customers and filled the cozy diner in his last days with remembering guests.
But as quickly as Utah’s capital is growing, said Nikols, once the 60-year-old diner and an adjoining two-story office building is demolished and the new residential complex built, “that will be a year and a half the least. People’s lives change and you never know what’s going to happen. “
Coachman Mixed Use, as the new condominium project is called, will, according to the submitted plans, offer lower-cost, one- and two-bedroom condominiums with structured parking, as well as retail space on the ground floor and offices on the second floor in this prominent corner of City Hall.
It’s part of an ongoing building boom across the city, including an increase in residential construction that is often replacing old commercial buildings.
The Coachman owner said the condominium project is “non-money motivated” and aims to provide an option for “affordable ownership for people just starting out in life.”
He also hopes the approach will encourage additional long-term investments in the surrounding neighborhood along State Street that city officials are seeking for redevelopment.
“This could be very positive and a way to create something for the community,” said Nikols. “I don’t want to make a fortune with these places. I just want to make a profit and also help people.
“It’s going to be neat,” he added.
His plans also envisage a large corner area on the ground floor, where the old restaurant is, for a new “Coachman Restaurant”. There is also talk, Nikols said, of salvaging and reusing the iconic inclined lamplight sign designed by Nikols’ father, longtime restaurateur John Nikols, and which remains a well-known neighborhood landmark.
Talks with preservationists have raised the possibility of possibly cutting the sign into pieces and embedding them in the new building.
“We’ll see if it’s possible,” said Nikols.
Salt Lake City City Council unanimously agreed to its call for the rededication of the 1.77 acres under Coachman’s offices and adjoining offices in March, shifting from commercial uses to one that has more land uses and taller buildings than mixed four floors.
Nikols has requested to treat the project as a planned development which, if approved, would give him more leeway to make the project compatible with nearby properties, he said. His latest designs also require the approval of city planners, as the facade of the building along State Street appears to protrude beyond a city limit of 60 meters.
The city’s redevelopment agency has meanwhile created a new project area that spans parts of the land on either side of State Street between 300 South and 2100 South – a move that aims to attract additional development through tax incentives and other financial instruments.