The Giv Group does more than build zero emission apartment complexes; they create communities. Last week P3 toured their newest creation: Project Open. It serves as an example of what to aim for when building a sustainable apartment complex in the 21st century. The building features a beautiful mural on the side of a father and his daughter. The building was built with community in mind. The bottom floor has space for stores, and is currently occupied by Hello Bulk! Market, a packaging free grocery store. The bottom floor also features an area with a TV, entertainment, a gym, and a conference room for residents to utilize. Rent is made affordable for residents. They have units reserved for those recovering from homelessness and refugees. There are artist studios that the residents can rent out to develop their own projects.
Near the middle of the tour we took an elevator ride to the sixth floor. We stepped out onto a sizable balcony with an impressive view of Salt Lake City. Chris Parker, Executive Director of Giv Group, explained that instead of privatizing the balcony, they built two on each side for the residents to share. They wanted to promote neighborly interaction and connection by sharing the scenic views of the city. Across the train tracks we could see the other apartment complexes with their uniform brick and private balconies, a stark contrast to Project Open.
Project Open is unique in that it is zero emissions, affordable, and has a community approach. It is a perfect example of what can happen when people innovate for the common good. Parker told us that he hopes this can serve as an example to other contractors, showing them that they can save money while also being more efficient. With their first project they saved around $60,000 by going with renewables. Their more recent projects are aiming to save $200,000. These types of projects are crucial to cleaning up the air in Salt Lake City for future generations and creating a wider sense of community.