Hale Centre Theatre moves forward with expansion plans in Sandy
Arts • Site would be near I-15 for visibility and accessibility.
Published: June 17, 2014 10:30PM
Updated: June 18, 2014 10:00AM
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Kim Raff | The Salt Lake Tribune Patron Gary A. Lynn, left, compliments actresses Brittany Sanders, center, and Olivia Smith-Driggs, right, after a sold-out production of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" last year at Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley City. Hale officials on Tuesday finalized a deal to build a new theater in Sandy.

Sandy city officially took center stage in the bout to become the new home of the Hale Centre Theatre.

Theatre officials announced their decision for a possible expansion in Sandy, rather than South Jordan, on Tuesday. Sandy Councilman Chris McCandless, who also sits on the Hale Centre Theatre Board, said the choice came down to business exposure and accessibility.

The new theater, still in the planning phase, would be built near 10000 South on Monroe Street, just off Interstate 15.

The area is a high-traffic zone where freeway travellers will easily see the building and adjacent advertising. And the city plans to build an offramp from the freeway for additional access.

McCandless said the building plans are “tenuous” for now and if it were a marathon, they would only be past the 100-yard marker.

“We’ve got a long ways to go,” he said. “It could easily get derailed.”

Sandy and the theater board had agreed in February 2013 to build a theater at the same site, turning down an offer for an expansion at the existing theater in West Valley City.

Original plans for the theater in Sandy anticipated an “ambitious” 267,000-square-foot project, costing upward of $80 million.

In March, plans for the Sandy theater fell through, and theater officials resumed negotiations with West Valley City while continuing to seek a site in the south valley for a second theater in either Sandy or South Jordan.

The current theater plans for Sandy have been scaled down to approximately 100,000 square feet and $30 million to $40 million.

The new plan will include some open park space, two office buildings and a partially embedded parking structure. Sandy expects to use other nearby parking structures with more than 1,000 available stalls that it already owns for additional parking.

Hale Centre Theatre and Sandy signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday, and Mayor Tom Dolan said he is eager for the new addition to the city.

“It’s everything we would have dreamed of with this property,” he said.

McCandless said the next step is to complete a tax-increment study, determine the contributions and complete blueprints. If the deal pans out, he hopes all construction will be done in about four or five years.

Beecher Walker Architects is drafting the master plan for the project. And all construction will be “fluid,” with each building coming in at different times, according to the demand.

Hale Centre Theatre board chair Rob Brough released an official statement on the decision to build in Sandy, saying the board was “committed to moving the expansion project forward.”

“By expanding the theater more families will have access to theater arts than ever before,” Brough said.

McCandless was unsure if the West Valley City theater will stay open after the Sandy addition.

“It’s a quality of life enhancer,” he said on the theater coming to Sandy.

“Our community has done nothing but embrace the idea.”