Salt Lake County commissioners Monday hired the consulting firm DMJM to provide market studies and professional expertise in support of a citizens task force exploring the possibility of a larger downtown home for the Utah Jazz.
The work will be done by the local office of the Phoenix-based firm, and while a final cost will be determined through negotiation, DMJM has submitted a $183,000 bid.The Jazz say they need an 18,500-seat arena to increase ticket revenues to a level that can support a doubling of the team's annual payroll over the next five years.
A new labor contract between the National Basketball Association and its players union is expected to push the Jazz payroll to more than $10 million by 1994, and team officials say ticket revenues from the 12,444-seat Salt Palace will not meet that cost.
The citizens task force, appointed last month by county commissioners, released a study Friday by a sports-architecture firm that says Salt Palace seating cannot be expanded economically, and recommends a new arena be built.
DMJM is expected to begin immediately reviewing task force committee reports and evaluating market data, urban design recommendations and options for funding and managing a new arena.
The consultant will work with the task force and its committees to prepare all findings as a final report containing recommendations on the viability of such a project. The deadline for submitting that report to commissioners is Oct. 31.
DMJM was chosen by a selection committee from a list of nine consultants who submitted proposals to the county. The firm was the low bidder on the consulting project, but price was only one consideration, said Larry Meyer, administrative assistant to Commission Chairman Bart Barker and a member of the selection group.
The selection committee also based its recommendation on the firm's experience with similar proj-ects, ability to begin work immediately and willingness to work with others who will volunteer their professional services to the arena feasibility study.