SL County Mayor Wilson ‘working diligently’ to keep Abravanel Hall as is

May 14, 2024, 7:36 PM | Updated: 8:49 pm

overhead shot of Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City...

Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. Jazz owner Ryan Smith and city and county leaders want to redevelop to create a new shopping, residential and entertainment district that will connect City Creek Mall with the Delta Center. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Keeping Abravanel Hall as is as Salt Lake City undergoes a “reimagining” is important to county mayor Jenny Wilson.

The hall, which has been the home of the Utah Symphony since it was built in 1979, is an icon of Salt Lake City but is owned and operated by Salt Lake County where Wilson is the mayor.

“I am working diligently on a reimagined downtown, and a district design that allows Abravanel Hall to remain in its present form,” she said in a statement Tuesday. She also said she valued feedback from the community. The county mayor previously said the hall is due for a rebuild or renovation, but on Tuesday seemed to indicate that keeping the present structure is what community feedback likely favors.

In a presentation to the Salt Lake City Council, the Smith Entertainment Group said it wanted the hall included in its reimagined core of Salt Lake City, which it said would include sports, entertainment, culture, and conventions. The group said plans are not complete, and it didn’t specify if it wants to tear down and rebuild a new structure or wanted to preserve the current building.

Utah Symphony and Utah Opera officials were meeting with Wilson and Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith’s group about the hall before the more recent announcements. Others have spoken in favor of preserving the building. The hall, with a seating capacity of less than 2,800, sits on the corner of West Temple and South Temple, adjacent to the Salt Palace Convention Center and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.

Utah’s lawmakers approved a possible tax increase for the city that would fund the stadium with some last-minute changes in the 2024 legislative session. It approved, in SB272, a then potential NHL team, later purchased and introduced to Utah. The law allows the Smith Entertainment Group to approach the city and state with a plan to “revitalize” the city.

While those supporting the project praise it for the city’s economy, economists broadly agree that arenas are “not economic development catalysts and confer limited social benefits.”

When Smith first spoke of the “revitalizing” of downtown Salt Lake City, he initially emphasized having the NBA and NHL at its core. The message from his group has changed as parts of the community have spoken against the plan.

Wilson’s full statement is below:

I appreciate the extensive amount of input regarding the future of Abravanel Hall as a sports, entertainment, culture, and convention district is envisioned in downtown Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake County is the owner and operator of Abravanel Hall. As Mayor of Salt Lake County, I am working diligently on a reimagined downtown, and a district design that allows Abravanel Hall to remain in its present form and value the feedback from the community.


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SL County Mayor Wilson ‘working diligently’ to keep Abravanel Hall as is