S.L. County Council postpones vote on Salt Lake City's Broadway-style theater plan

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 7 2012 7:05 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County's debt review committee will examine the county's participation in Salt Lake City's proposed $110 million Broadway-style theater before the county votes on whether to move forward with the project.

The County Council voted Tuesday to give the committee a week to crunch the numbers before taking a vote on the county's $28.2 million participation in the 2,500-seat theater to be built along Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City.

County Councilman Steve DeBry said he has had ongoing concerns about the county's participation, in particular its impact on county-owned venues such as the Capitol Theatre, Rose Wagner Center and Abravanel Hall.

Under the proposed agreement between the county and city, the county would receive $600,000 annually to offset any income lost from competition from the Broadway-style theater.

DeBry also questions the wisdom of shifting tax-increment financing designated for Delta Center infrastructure improvements in the early 1990s to the theater project.

"With the information I had today, I wouldn't have voted for it," he said.

Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker said a week or two of additional study would not hurt the plan, which has been vetted by his and Corroon's administrations as well as community partners. Research and planning for the project has been under way for more than four years, he said.

"This is a big project for the region, the county and the city. We want them to be comfortable getting the information they need," Becker said. 

Phil Jordan, director of Salt Lake County's Center for the Arts, said city and the county officials had "asked a lot of tough questions of each other" as they negotiated the terms of the county's participation in the project.

According to estimates, the theater would generate about $4.7 million in sales taxes above ticket sales.

Sending the proposal to the debt review committee would be "a good opportunity to look at everything one more time," Jordan said.

The debt review committee includes representatives of the mayor's administration and the county council, the council's budget director, two members of the county auditor's office as well as the county treasurer and the district attorney or their designees.

E-mail: marjorie@desnews.com

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