Officials: Options to revive Utah Theater aren’t viable
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The chances of reviving a historic theater in downtown Salt Lake City are looking grim after a city agency reported that none of the scenarios are feasible without millions of dollars in public funding.
The city has examined options to rejuvenate the nearly 100-year-old Utah Theater that hosted the likes of Will Rogers, Babe Ruth and Abbott and Costello when it was the city’s marquee venue for touring acts, The Salt Lake Tribune reported .
The city’s Redevelopment Agency bought the theater for $5.5 million in 2010 and has been talks with neighboring property owners to explore redevelopment options.
The agency submitted a report to city leaders last week, saying none of the nine options “appear to be feasible or viable, and any scenario will likely have a significant funding gap in the tens of millions of dollars.”
The agency is now looking to gauge public opinion on where revitalizing the theater aligns with the city’s fiscal priorities, said Danny Walz, the agency’s chief operating officer.
“When we look at the challenges and the opportunities and issues that are facing the rest of the city, is that the best place to invest $40 to $60 million?” Walz said.
The city has been meeting with the LaSalle Group and Hines Interests to explore selling the theater to them for redevelopment or hiring them to overhaul the building.
The LaSalle Group proposed two years ago turning the theater into an entertainment and dining center. Other ideas have been floated, including making it into a media center, hotel or apartments.
With the price tags of such projects soaring, the city has not yet found a viable end-user for the theater.
“There was this beautiful amenity, something we really could have cherished, that really has been neglected,” Salt Lake City Councilwoman Amy Fowler said. “That’s why we see that big price tag. There’s so much work that would need to go into it.”
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com