A public-private partnership of government, business and the Utah Jazz is the most likely financing arrangement for building a proposed 18,500-seat downtown arena, estimated to cost $76 million, a consultant's report says.
But the arena is only one component of a $146 million package of downtown projects, which includes expanded and upgraded convention facilities that planning consultant DMJM Inc. says will be needed in the immediate future.Phoenix-based DMJM, which is being paid $183,000 to assist a citizens task force exploring options for a new arena, was to present its 230-page final report to the task force Friday afternoon.
A draft copy of that report released to the Deseret News lists three options for financing a new arena. But because Salt Lake County commissioners have pledged that there will be no tax hikes to build it, only one option appears to be viable.
That option is a financial partnership of the Jazz, Salt Lake City, the county and the state, with each partner contributing according to its resources. Some local corporations or residents also may be willing to donate up to $1 million each to the project in exchange for future use of the arena's planned luxury suites, from which Jazz games could be viewed in comfort and privacy, the report says.
The details of such a financial arrangement would have to be negotiated among the partners. However, some task force members already have said the Jazz would have to come up with at least half of the $75 million arena price tag to get the other potential partners involved.
A "cut-rate" arena could be built for $33 million to $37 million, but that temptation must be resisted, the report says, because it would lower demand for use of the arena and damage the facility's revenue potential.
DMJM's report put the consultant at odds with one task force committee over location of the arena. The location committee recommended a site on Block 79, between South Temple, First South and Third and Fourth West streets, directly south of the Triad Center.
But DMJM recommends a site on Block 50, between Third and Fourth South and West Temple and Second West, saying it offers better pedestrian, auto and mass-transit access, better traffic flow, more parking space and makes it easier for anyone attending an arena event to patronize downtown businesses.
Those are just two of 17 sites originally considered. Salt Lake City and whoever pays for the arena likely will have the final say.
Also in DMJM's package of recommendations:
_A $70 million project to upgrade existing convention facilities and build a 300,000-square-foot convention center expansion _ and that's just the first phase. Two more phases, which could be built as market demand requires over the next 30 years, would cost millions more.
_A $15 million science center.
_A $7 million project to build two new performing arts theaters and rehearsal halls.
_And a $20 million remodeling of the 20-year-old, 12,444-seat Salt Palace arena, converting it to another use.
The old arena could be converted into the proposed science center, into convention space or into a hall suitable for housing festivals and other smaller events, the report says.
The report acknowledges many of the proposed projects may not be completed in the near future, and committee members working in support of the task force have said that many of the projects may never be built.