Declaring his desire to keep Utah Jazz money in Utah, Jazz owner and auto dealer Larry Miller announced the selection this week of Sahara Construction in Bountiful as general contractor of a new arena in downtown Salt Lake City.

Groundbreaking on the proposed $45 million facility is expected in late June following land negotiations with landowners on a block in the northern downtown area, selected last week by Miller and the city's Redevelopment Agency.The firm has worked with Miller on several projects in Utah and Arizona and is currently constructing a Miller's Chevrolet dealership in Murray.

"I feel they will bring professionalism and quality to the construction of the arena," Miller said.

The basketball facility rates as the largest project Sahara has ever undertaken, said Tom Maybe, who is a principal of the firm with Dan Schofield.

Despite no experience in building indoor sports arenas, Maybe said Schofield, who has 22 years experience in the construction business, and Miller have visited arenas completed and under construction to find out pitfalls to avoid and the latest technics to implement in constructing the Jazz area.

"Dan has as much understanding about building a facility this size as anyone in the valley," said Maybe, who is a licensed engineer and 15 years experience in commercial construction.

He said the project, scheduled for completion in August 1991, would employ from 200-500 workers at any given time.

Maybe and Schofield said their goal was also to use local contractors and suppliers throughout the construction of the arena "to keep construction dollars in Utah."

The contractors are confident they can find the needed sub-contractors, manufacturers and suppliers in Utah. But, Maybe noted, a local manufacturer of arena type seats has yet to found.