Hale Centre Theatre moving to Sandy

Published: Monday, Feb. 25 2013 5:25 p.m. MST

Motorists drive by the Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley City, March 26, 2009. The theater announced Monday that it is moving to a new location in Sandy.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SANDY — It’s official: Hale Centre Theatre will have a new home in Sandy by 2017.

Theater co-founders Mark and Sally Dietlein announced Monday they had come to an agreement with Sandy to build an upgraded facility on 11.5 acres at 9950 S. Monroe St., close to 10000 South and I-15. Sandy sold the site to Hale Centre Theatre for $7.5 million at the same price the city originally purchased it. 

At its current West Valley City location, the theater receives about 255,000 unique visitors annually. It has been operating at more than 100 percent capacity for the past two years.

"This is a day long coming and a day of celebration," said Rob Brough, chairman of the Hale Centre Theatre's board of trustees. "In order for the theater to continue to achieve its mission of providing family-friendly, live entertainment by and for the community, we needed to look at opportunities for expansion."

West Valley City officials ended negotiations to keep the theater in the city earlier this month, saying they had made every accommodation possible and were doubtful theater owners wanted to stay and expand there.

"It's important for me to note here how appreciative and grateful we are to West Valley City for the 16 years we have spent there," Brough said. "They will still be our home for the remainder of the lease."

Hale Centre Theatre approached Sandy almost two years ago to gauge the city's interest in having the theater there. The main obstacle in negotiations was finding a piece of property large and visible enough until Sandy bought the land in December. 

"Literally hundreds of residents have said they'd be thrilled to have Hale Centre Theatre come to our community," Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan said. "It fits into what we want to see Sandy become into the future."

The new theater will include three separate stages. The Centre Stage Theatre will have a capacity of 800 seats, the Proscenium will hold 700, and the black box theater will seat 300. The facility will also include spaces for receptions and business meetings, as well as expanded set design shops and costume rooms.

According to theater spokesman Chris Thomas, the expansion will cost about $65 million to complete.

The current West Valley City facility has one stage and 613 seats. The new main theater in Sandy will be slightly larger than the current theater with an additional row and improved legroom.

"We're bursting at the seams and turning away thousands all the time," Sally Dietlein said. "It's delightful to know we can actually fit people in."

But it was more than just facility size that prompted the theater to make the move. Brough said the visible location ultimately led the board of directors to finalize a difficult decision.

"There's not a better location than what we see here," Brough said. "We share a vision with Sandy city. The plan they have for this part of the city was very attractive to us going forward."

The theater's lease with West Valley City for the building near the Maverik Center expires in 2016. West Valley leaders said they offered several incentives to convince the theater to stay, including a discounted lease through 2028, additional city bonds and 15 available acres adjacent to the current site for expansion.

E-mail: blockhart@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @benlockhart89

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