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The rental market in downtown Salt Lake City could get a big boost if a proposed apartment complex becomes reality.

Zions Securities Corp. is considering building an apartment complex with as many as 300 units at 201 E. South Temple. The company, which manages commercial property for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is in the early stages of putting the proj-ect together.Gary Chaston, residential division manager for Zions, said the project is subject to change and that "we are trying to work out our ideas."

"There is no question we believe there is a need for housing in the downtown area," Chaston said. "That was one of the main reasons we looked at housing there rather than an office building.

"Everyone we've talked with has been very encouraged that we're looking at housing," he said.

As currently proposed, the complex would rise seven stories above South Temple and six stories above First Avenue on what is now an asphalt parking lot and a vacant lot.

The multistoried building would include 50 one-bedroom units, 202 two-bedroom units, 30 three-bedroom units and 18 two-story townhouses. Rents would be in the moderate to upper range, Chaston said.

The E-shaped building would wrap around two courtyards. Because of the slope of the property, some parking for the complex would be underground and the rest would be at or above street level, according to a presentation Zions Securities made at a recent Historical Landmarks Committee meeting.

The property, which is owned by the LDS Church, is located in the Avenues Historic District and thus requires approval from the Landmarks Committee.

The committee gave the project conceptual approval, although Zions Securities will need to bring it back for review once details of the project are firm. The Planning Commission also must sign off on the project.

Zions Securities has also met with the executive board of the Greater Avenues Community Coun-cil seeking support for the project.

If the project is approved, both by the city and by Zions Securities, construction could begin next spring, Chaston said.