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Website offers – then withdraws – $1M for Sugar House name change

Published February 21, 2013 10:28 pm

SugarDaddie.com had sought Salt Lake City connection, but town's name is not for sale.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It's well-known that many Salt Lakers have a sweet tooth and, at times, can be amorous, too.

But this could be stretching it: A dating website on Wednesday announced it was offering Salt Lake City $1.35 million to change the name of its Sugar House neighborhood to SugarDaddie.com for 10 years.

But the website — where wealthy gentlemen can hook up with ladies looking for well-heeled suitors — withdrew the offer Thursday evening, saying a response from Mayor Ralph Becker's office mocked the proposal.

The deal would have included changing Sugar House Park to SugarDaddie.com Park and changing the planned Sugar House Streetcar line to SugarDaddie Streetcar. Also, the Sugar House Community Council would have been called the SugarDaddie Community Council.

The offer caught City Councilman Soren Simonsen, who represents Sugar House, off guard.

"I haven't heard anything about it," he said with a laugh. "I don't know where to start with this discussion."

Simonsen surmised that it was either "corporate sponsorship run amok" or simply a brilliant "publicity stunt."

"I can't imagine that anyone in Salt Lake City would find that viable; to replace a real name with history with a [dating] website.

Earlier this year, the Houston area witnessed a whirlwind of media coverage surrounding the website's effort to rename Sugar Land, Texas, as SugarDaddie.com, Texas. It offered the Houston suburb $4.65 million for the naming rights.

Sugar Land took a pass on the offer.

SugarDaddie.com CEO Steven Pasternack, in a prepared statement, said the offer was no joke.

"We are very serious about branding the city and giving birth to the first dating site-sponsored city in America," he said in a Wednesday news release. "We thought it would be a great way to get the word out about our 10-year anniversary, and to be a permanent part of the rich history of Salt Lake City."

But when contacted Thursday morning, Becker's office had not heard of the offer.

"It's all new to us," said spokesman Art Raymond. "But the Sugar House brand is not for sale."

And later Thursday, Pasternack's website sent another news release saying it was withdrawing the offer.

"First, we felt ignored," it said. "Then, comments began to get out to the media from City Hall. Then, we get a response via Twitter ... that clearly mocks our offer."

It said a tweet from the mayor's office contained an online link to a City Weekly report that refered to the proposal as a "Stupid PR Stunt."

csmart@sltrib.com