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SLC Council votes unanimously to endorse revitalization zone deal with Smith Entertainment Group

The Salt Lake City & County Building in Salt Lake City is pictured on Wednesday, January 3, 2024.
Spenser Heaps
Utah News Dispatch
The Salt Lake City & County Building in Salt Lake City is pictured on Wednesday, January 3, 2024.

The participation agreement goes to a legislative committee for its consideration

The Salt Lake City Council voted unanimously to endorse a participation agreement between Smith Entertainment Group and the city. The action is a step closer to increasing Salt Lake City’s sales taxes by 0.5% to remodel the Delta Center and revitalize the two blocks east of the arena.

Apart from that, the city also voted to approve the creation of a project area of up to 100 acres surrounding the Delta Center that would become a sports, entertainment, culture and convention center.

The vote is one of the steps that SB272, or the Capital City Revitalization Zone bill, delineated to take the action to accommodate Utah’s new National Hockey League team in Salt Lake City’s downtown. The agreement now goes to the Revitalization Zone Committee — formed by four legislators and another member appointed by the governor.

“When all of us were sworn into office, we promised to execute the duties of our office with fidelity. This is one of those moments where we can look at ourselves in the mirror and say we’ve done that,” Salt Lake City Council Chair Victoria Petro said on Tuesday.

Other council members, such as Alejandro Puy, also applauded the list of public benefits included in the agreement, arguing that “the success of downtown is the success of every district in the city,” and that this is an opportunity that may never repeat. Others called it “a transformational step” and “a monumental investment.”

The Revitalization Zone Committee has 30 days to review the agreement and discuss it in a public meeting. The legislative group could send back the agreement to the city with comments, restarting negotiations between Smith Entertainment Group and the city for another deal.

If the committee approves it, it goes back to the city for a final vote to potentially approve the sales tax increase.

In a joint statement, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Mike Maughan, a Smith Entertainment Group executive and project principal, applauded the action and said there is still a lot of work ahead in collaboration with government and community partners.

“Tonight’s unanimous vote by the Salt Lake City Council is an important endorsement and positive step toward creating a Sports, Entertainment, Culture, and Convention District in the heart of downtown,” Mendenhall and Maughan wrote. “We are grateful for the Council’s support of this vision that will create a more activated, connected, and family-friendly future for Salt Lake City.”

Last Tuesday, the city released its participation agreement draft, which included more details on the public benefits Salt Lakers would get out of the $900 million the tax increase is meant to raise.

The approved motion included other highlights, such as a development agreement with construction mitigation plans that would tackle the likely disruption of the flow of pedestrian and vehicle traffic and any negative impact on residents and businesses in the area.

There would also be a prioritization of transit development, with Smith Entertainment Group and Utah Transit Authority coordinating to create transit programs and incentives to promote ridership to the district, Council Member Eva López Chávez said in her motion to endorse the deal.

Read the full story at utahnewsdispatch.com.

Utah News Dispatch is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news source covering government, policy and the issues most impacting the lives of Utahns.
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