Thursday night, the ballet successfully got another 90 days to search for suitable space in the block between Main Street and West Temple and 100 and 200 South.
Ballet West will continue to lease land in Sugar House, where it had planned to build a permanent rehearsal home. It already has land, owned by the city's Redevelopment Agency, at 1201 Wilmington Ave. in Sugar House. And it has the bulk of the money needed to build the $16 million building. But last summer, the Salt Lake Chamber asked the ballet to rethink its decision because the chamber is trying to create a downtown cultural district. Chamber members agreed to help Ballet West raise the extra $6 million it needs for the ballet to become a part of the district.
Johann Jacobs, Ballet West's executive director, said in a letter to the RDA that the cultural district will "be an enormous - and much needed - boost to the livability and economic viability of downtown Salt Lake City and Utah." But if that doesn't pan out, the ballet wants to be able to open the studios on the Sugar House plot.
On a related topic, the RDA is still searching for a researcher to study the viability of renovating the Utah Theatre into a performing arts center to rival Capitol Theatre. Both theaters are on the block Ballet West is looking at. It was the chance to renovate the Utah Theatre that prompted the chamber to envision the cultural district.