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 www.slcrda.com.