Time running out to save Utah Theater

Local News

Sale, demolition likely

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – It’s a Salt Lake City landmark that soon could get torn down.

The Utah Theater, built in 1918, was a statement.

“It was built for a cost of $2 million! In 1918. That’s about a zillion dollars today,” said Craig Wirth, ABC4 News reporter and historian.

Turns out, it might take that kind of money to save the theater.

“I’m coming here to beg you to preserve that theater,” said one man at a Sept. 24 RDA ( Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City) meeting.

RDA acquired the property in 2010 and analyzed ways to make it work.

“There’s a lot of interest in the building. There’s a lot of sentiment to save it,” someone said at the Sept. 24 meeting.

But, officials said, the cost to redevelop the space would total between $50-80 million.

“There is no more demand for these type of venues,” said an official at the Sept. 24 meeting.

“And I think that’s why we didn’t see the Pioneer Theater saved,” he said.

“That’s my candid answer.”

In an email, an RDA spokesperson told ABC4 they are still working to identify a purchase price for the property.

Developers plan to put a high rise, mixed-use tower in the theater’s place.

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