This is an archived article that was published on in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

After being rejected three times, plans for a new apartment complex on South Temple have won approval from the panel overseeing Salt Lake City's historic districts.

Developer Garbett Homes said in February it had given up on the Hardison Apartments project, proposed for a vacant lot at the corner of 500 East and South Temple.

Company President Bryson Garbett said he had to pull out due to rising costs after members of the city's Historic Landmark Commission repeatedly deemed his designs inappropriate for the grand, tree-lined street.

But architects with CRSA in Salt Lake City trimmed the building from six stories to four by stripping more than 90 dwellings from the mixed-use complex and scaling back on ground-level parking.

Hardison now offers 77 market-rate apartments with one, two and three bedrooms, while also incorporating more green space and moving farther back from the sidewalk.

"The footprint all the way around has been reduced," said architect Wallace Cooper.

While public comment remained somewhat divided, commission Chairman Thomas Brennan said the revised plans had "significantly responded" to previous objections. He and four other commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to certify the building appropriate for the district, with a few conditions.

Further tweaks might be needed, they said, to the look of ground-level windows and the location of sidewalk planters. They also want to boost the prominence of the main entrance and alter designs for the six ground-level "work-live" units and a south-side parking lot entry.

Charged with protecting the historic character of South Temple and the adjoining Central City neighborhood, commissioners turned down earlier Hardison versions at three hearings in 2015 and early 2016, citing concerns about height, design, facades and a lack of setbacks.

Past plans also drew criticism from neighbors, some of whom complained they did not match the scale of South Temple, designated by the American Planning Association as one of 10 Great Streets in America.

The head of the Central City Neighborhood Council said consensus among adjacent residents now was positive. Chairman Michael Iverson said he welcomed the inclusion of three-bedroom dwellings for their appeal to families.

"We are desperate for housing," said Iverson, who lauded Garbett for listening to public input. "We wish all developers were this mindful of the community and respectful of the history of the area."

Brenda Scheer, former dean of the University of Utah's College of Architecture and Planning, said new designs struck the right balance between modern style and South Temple's historic context.

"This project," Scheer said, "has both the sense of a contemporary, vibrant work, while fulfilling its role as a stately building with appropriate massing and, most importantly, appropriate addressing of the street and landscape."

Commissioner Kenton Peters questioned Garbett on previous claims the building could not be pared back without making construction financially impossible.

"The answer is simple: We went back and reconsidered it," Bruce Baird, an attorney for Garbett, responded. "And we think it's a better project."

Twitter: @TonySemerad