The Centre Theatre, a 51-year-old downtown landmark at Third South and State streets, will be demolished to make way for a 14-story office tower, a four-screen movie theater and retail shops, the Deseret News has learned.
The $22 million complex will be named Broadway Centre.Development partners Broadway Centre Ltd., Pentalon Corp. and Commerce Properties Inc. will hold a press conference Aug. 3 in the lobby of the theater to announce the office and entertainment complex.
According to sources, the new office tower will be angled toward the center of the intersection, as the theater is now, similar to the orientation of the First Interstate Bank Tower at Main and Second South.
The developers have a "hand shake" agreement with Plitt Theaters to operate the four-plex theater. Under the master plan by Salt Lake architects Edwards & Daniels, the theater complex will be entered from Third South. Parking will be farther east on Third South.
As recognition of the theater's local landmark status, developers plan to either retain the unusual green and orange tile that spirals around the box office in the outer foyer of the theater or create "something like it" to retain the architectural flavor of the corner.
A spokesman close to the project said the small shops occupying space in the Centre building along Third South and State Street will have to move. He said those tenants are operating on a monthly lease.
According to those who have seen the plans, the developers and architects want Broadway Centre to attract people to that area of downtown in much the way that the renovation of the Tabor Center has in downtown Denver.
"We're not trying to mimic anything, but just trying to save the feeling of that block," said a source close to the project. "That part of town needs something to get it back on its feet. This is the kind of project that will really help Block 57 (between Main and State, Second and Third South)."
A demolition permit for the Centre has not been acquired but sources said the facility won't be demolished for about six months. Construction of Broadway Centre is scheduled to begin "sometime next winter." The building will contain 240,000 square feet of office space. Construction will be steel and glass with a granite base. The complex will take up about an acre of land on the corner.
Developer Pentalon Corp. has constructed a number of apartment buildings in the Salt Lake area but its only office complex is the Eagle Plaza on 45th South and Wasatch Boulevard.
Pentalon principal Fred Morris said he could not discuss the project until the Aug. 3 announcement because, "This is a new venture for us and there are so many things to be resolved over the next few days. This is going to be a really dramatic project."
Pentalon is also a construction company and Morris confirmed that his firm will build Broadway Centre. Pentalon bought the Centre Theatre property from Commerce Properties for an undisclosed price. Pentalon is said to represent investors from "around the country."
Commerce Properties, which will be the building manager and leasing agent, will become the first tenant of the new building when it is completed. Construction is expected to take two years.
The 1,200-seat Centre, opened in August 1937, is the largest theater left downtown and one of the few examples of Art Deco architecture. Theater operators say the economics of the movie business make it unprofitable today to operate the large theaters built in the 1920s and '30s.