The Mailman will be making his deliveries at a new address for the 1991-92 basketball season.
Following an impassioned speech in which Jazz owner Larry H. Miller explained his commitment to professional basketball in the state, the City Council, donning the hat of the city's Redevelopment Agency, chose northern Block 79 (site A) as the new home for Miller's $45 million, 18,500-seat arena.The decision Thursday night ends months of study and debate over where to build the arena, which Miller says is necessary to sell enough tickets to meet a burgeoning team payroll.
In selecting the northern site, the council went against a recommendation made earlier this week by the Planning Commission to construct the arena on Block 50 (site B) in the southern downtown area. It also avoided a possible confrontation with several Block 50 business owners who said earlier this week they'd go to court to stall efforts to build the arena on their block, rather than face possible condemnation.
Site B is bordered by Third South, Fourth South, West Temple and Second West streets.
The RDA voted unanimously for the northern site, bounded by South Temple, First South, Third West and Fourth West, despite a motion by Councilman Willie Stoler to postpone the vote.
The decision puts into motion a plan for the RDA to commit $20 million in bond money, to be repaid with revenue collected from the city's 100-acre redevelopment district, to buy land on which Miller will build his arena.
After more than four hours of public comment, Miller stepped to the podium and addressed the council. His comments - sometimes halted by his own tears - told of his desire to keep the Jazz viable and to dispel misconceptions about the need for a new arena.
"The fact is, the thing we've tried to avoid through this whole process is any hint of: `If you don't do this, we're going to take our ball and go away,' " Miller said.
After acquiring half ownership of the team in 1985, Miller said he made a commitment to make the Jazz a Utah institution and put an end to annual rumors that the Jazz would leave the state.
But a year ago Miller said he became "sick to my stomach" when he heard the terms of a National Basketball Association collective bargaining agreement increasing the team's payroll this year to $7.2 million.
"What went through my head was: I am listening to the death warrant of NBA basketball in Utah," he said.
But Miller told the council he decided to attempt to keep the team in the Beehive state by selling more tickets at a new, expanded arena - a facility that could benefit the community for the next half-century.
"We have before us an opportunity that is very special that will affect our community and our state for 30 to 50 years," he said, wiping tears away as the audience, some of whom had been critical of the arena, applauded.
Miller said he supported the Block 79 site because the water table on the block is 30 feet lower, enabling the facility to be partially subterranean, because traffic flow was more efficient and because utility costs would be significantly lower.
Additionally, 12 to 15 businesses on the alternative site would have to be relocated to make way for the arena and many complained openly at the meeting their business could not survive such an ordeal. This upset Miller.
"I too am an independent businessman and putting myself in their shoes and thinking about the prospects of being forced to relocate my business is a very disquieting thought," he told the council.
What's more, only four businesses and two major landowners occupy the Block 79 site, reducing relocation costs to zero and demolition costs to $190,000. By comparison, relocation and demolition costs for Block 50 would be $275,000 and $320,000, respectively, according to RDA staff.
One Block 79 landowner has already indicated a willingness to sell and the other - Travelers Insurance Co., the largest land holder on the block - will sell under acceptable conditions.