"This building will still draw people downtown," he said. "People will want to see it. They'll want to get out and walk around the grounds and enjoy the peace and quiet that will be there. And while they are there they will want to see what else is downtown, or get something to eat. I just can't see anything but good coming from having the temple in the heart of the city."
The commitment to Provo's downtown community continues a recent pattern of the LDS Church in investing in urban areas where its temples are located, Holmes said.
"Look at what they have done in downtown Salt Lake City, with the new City Creek Center across the street from the Salt Lake Temple, and what they are doing around the Ogden Temple in downtown Ogden," he said. "The church is clearly interested in what is happening in and around their temples, and they are reaching out into those communities and trying to make a positive difference."
The impact of the LDS Church's $1.5 billion City Creek Center development on downtown Salt Lake City has been well documented.
“Most of the good things that are happening in downtown are being driven by City Creek Center," Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance, told the Deseret News earlier this year. “To walk down Main Street today you see four or five storefronts that are being built, and everything else is full. Over the past few years, there have been hundreds of new businesses that have opened up.”
Similarly, Mark Johnson, chief administrative officer of the city of Ogden, said the ongoing remodeling of the LDS temple in downtown Ogden, along with the church's development of properties surrounding the temple, "have really caught the eye of a lot of developers."
"The fact that the church always does such a first-class job with any project is attractive to developers," Johnson said. "They look at what the church is doing and they say, 'We want to be a part of that.'"
Johnson said new businesses and residential developments are revitalizing downtown Ogden, and he said he suspects "when the temple reopens it will bring it back even more."
Completion of the Ogden Temple renovation is expected in late 2014.
"We appreciate the church coming in and trying to kind of protect the temple (with improvements to surrounding areas)," Johnson said. "The church's help has magnified what we would have been able to do on our own."
In Provo, the Provo City Center Temple is one of several projects already having an impact on city economics. Holmes said other projects such as Nu Skin's Innovation Center next to the temple, the nearby Utah County Convention Center and Central Bank's new construction project have contributed to a current economic climate downtown in which retail sales and occupancy rates are up and vacancies are down.
"It's still too early to see if property tax valuations have been impacted," he said, "but typically those values are going to go up in this kind of scenario."
All of these improvements, he said, attract people and businesses.
"Despite the inconvenience of construction and everything else going on, it's a positive impact, no doubt about it," Holmes said. "It just shows that large institutions like these see a future and promise in making a substantial investment in downtown Provo."
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