Study: Downtown Salt Lake City theater would attract 123K new visitors to Utah

Broadway Theater Rendering in Salt Lake

A cutaway view, looking north, of a plan for a Broadway-style theater along Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City.

By Jared Page, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A theater capable of hosting first-run touring Broadway shows would attract more than 123,000 new visitors to Salt Lake City each year and serve as an economic catalyst on Main Street, according to a study released Tuesday.

The yearlong study commissioned by the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City identifies a bevy of cultural and economic benefits the proposed Utah Performing Arts Center would bring to the capital city.

The study was conducted by Garfield Traub Swisher, the Utah-based company selected by the RDA in October 2009 to develop the theater.

The developers say the Utah Performing Arts Center would meet the pent-up demand for first-run touring Broadway productions in Utah. Currently, space and scheduling limitations prevent Salt Lake City from attracting such shows until their seventh, eighth or ninth runs.

“The Lion King,” for example, came to Utah 13 years after it opened on Broadway, according to the study. The show was a huge hit, running for seven weeks and grossing $8 million in sales. It also generated more than $500,000 in sales-tax revenue, $500,000 in stagehand job wages, $200,000 in local musician job wages and another $500,000 in facility rental income.

Garfield Traub Swisher estimates a $200 million to $500 million one-time economic boost during construction of the 148,000-square foot performing arts center. The developers also estimate $9.4 million a year in ongoing economic output from the theater.

In October 2008, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker announced plans to build the Utah Performing Arts Center at approximately 135 S. Main. The project, which will feature a 2,500-seat theater, is estimated to cost between $88 million and $98 million.

The complete report can be downloaded at

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  1. Sam Dodd says:

    I would love to see them build this. I also think your estimates are low. In Cedar City, we built a small theater and put on the shakespear festival which attracts well over 200,000 people a year Cedar City each year.

  2. Building new theater is like building a new home. I love to see them build this theater also. Building this theater can attract more than what is estimated, visitors can view not only the newly build theater but the place where it is place. Thanks!

  3. imobiliarias says:

    This theater would be nice!

  4. Traveling in Utah is not yet part of my travel destiny vacation but in terms of art center, I would love to take time searching for more information about this to have pleasure. I would love to see myself enjoying and watching broadway.

  5. This theater would be nice!

  6. This new theater would be great for Salt Lake. The culture, people, and revenue it would attract would make the city a better place than it already is. I can see Salt Lake City definitely benefiting from it.

  7. Building this theater can attract more than what is estimated.

  8. This is great news.This would surely attract more people to visit this progress. Thanks for the share.

  9. This theater sounds like a really great idea, I don’t see any downsides to its construction… What are they waiting for?


  10. I think projects that would bring hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars to a city should be pushed through. Not only would this theater bring money to Salt Lake City but it would also make the city more popular. It will become a destination or main attraction for tourists and people from Salt Lake alike.

  11. This would be really great! I’m really looking forward to see the results. This project needs to be pushed through.

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