Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis said the site chosen by the city's Redevelopment Agency for a new Jazz arena is the best site for the facility for one reason: That's where Jazz owner Larry Miller wants it.

But DePaulis told reporters Thursday the site also makes sense from "a purely planning perspective" because it strengthens an entertainment, arts and sports district already anchored in the area by the Salt Palace.The district concept was embraced by the Regional/ Urban Design Assistance Team, a group of urban planners who studied Salt Lake City last year and recommended the northern block as an arena site.

And with the demise of Triad Center in bankruptcy court, the area west of the Salt Palace, where the new arena will be located, was suffering from a dearth of development that could end with the new Jazz facility, DePaulis said.

While Block 79 presented several advantages, the Block 50 site - in the southern downtown area - was contrary to a number of planning objectives forwarded by the city, according to city officials.

City Development Services Director Craig Peterson told the RDA at a public hearing on the arena Thursday that a facility on Block 50 would interfere with a judicial and governmental center planned for the southern downtown area.

The state Administrative Office of the Courts has expressed an interest in building a courts facility in the southern downtown area and the state is nearing ground breaking on a new Employment Securities building there, too.

While some developers criticized the Block 79 site because it is far from freeway access and requires significant and costly street improvements, Peterson said such improvements are needed anyway and have already been planned.