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Ryan Smith and SLCo mayor weigh ‘benefits of rebuilding’

With significant repairs needed, Symphony officials along with Mayor Jenny Wilson and hockey team owner Ryan Smith say they must “weigh all factors.”

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Students from the Canyons School District and six Wasatch Front charter schools, some 2,475 fifth-graders, come to Abravanel Hall to hear the Utah Symphony for their annual school concert, Feb. 11 2020. The Utah Symphony presents Symphony of the Hawaiian Birds.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson is in favor of opening an east-west corridor through where the Salt Palace Convention Center now stands, but neither she nor Ryan Smith, owner of Utah’s new hockey team, are making any commitments about the future of Abravanel Hall.

Smith, Wilson and representatives of the Utah Symphony said they met Monday to discuss how the iconic concert hall would fit into plans for a sports and entertainment district in downtown Salt Lake City, but made no decisions on the future of the location.

They released a joint statement saying the vision for the project would include entertainment and culture “while opening an east-west corridor that will improve downtown connectivity and increase its vibrancy.”

Although the venues are located in the heart of the capital, Salt Lake County owns the convention center and adjacent concert hall.

Currently, 100 South ends at the convention center. Wilson had previously declined in an interview to say whether she would support extending the road at the cost of demolishing a significant portion of Assembly Hall.

The three parties said they would continue to weigh the best path forward regarding Abravanel Hall and that they are “committed to working together toward the shared goal of ensuring that Salt Lake City continues to enjoy the highest quality symphony hall that meets to the needs of its professional musicians. and community.”

Over the past year, the statement said, Salt Lake County and the Utah Symphony have developed a plan for necessary renovations to the venue – including improvements to acoustics, heating and cooling, front and back of house facilities and technology updates .

The creation of the Sports and Entertainment District “has the potential to accelerate and improve the ways in which these long-standing challenges will be addressed,” while expanding access to the arts, improving the experience for patrons and ensuring that artists have “the best environment… to perform their work.”

“Discussions are at a very early stage,” they said. “We must weigh all factors, including the high cost of renovation against the benefits of rebuilding.”

This story is current and will be updated.