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Race, Religion & Social Justice

Developers are seeking feedback from Salt Lake City’s west side community on an apartment complex that has already displaced residents

A photo of Tina in front of a sign that reads 'Stop the Kozo.'
Emily Means
/
KUER
Tina Hold Balderrama stands in front of the home she lived in and rented for about six years before she was told to move. She said she still brings her grandchildren to school in the neighborhood.

It’s been months since tenants were displaced from their homes due to the incoming Kozo House apartment complex on Salt Lake City’s west side.

Now, developers are talking with community members about what they want to see as the project moves forward.

The Kozo House apartments have faced public opposition due to concerns about unaffordable rent and because it’s forced long-time residents to relocate.

Angelo Montenegro, a member of the Rose Park Brown Berets, said they’ve made their demands clear.

A photo of a hand drawn sign by a child of a house with a heart on it, with words underneath that read 'This is Home.'
Emily Means
Community members from Salt Lake City’s west side put up signs at a rally Sunday opposing the Kozo House apartments.

“For us, it's all about affordability, specifically affordability for the people of Rose Park,” Montenegro said. “We would prefer that the real estate holder give the homes back to the community, or sell the property to a nonprofit that is working within Rose Park and the west Side at large to create real affordable housing.”

Tina Holt Balderrama is one of the tenants who had to move out of her duplex because of the Kozo development. She said it was difficult to find another place for her family and dogs to live.

This weekend, she was at a protest in front of her fenced-off old house with a warning for renters.

“Protect this neighborhood,” Holt Balderrama said. “Protect it with your lives the same way you would anything else, because once you're out of it, it's not home anymore.”

City officials said Modal Living, the Kozo’s developer, is consulting with DB Urban for the community engagement sessions. Neither company responded to KUER’s request for comment.

City officials said they’re hopeful the conversations between the developer and neighborhood will lead to a project that’s useful to the community.

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