Utah hockey team’s owners are making plans for a Sandy mall — and one tenant has been told to leave

Dreamscapes, a sustainable art installation, has been given notice to vacate the former Macy’s location.

(Palak Jayswal | The Salt Lake Tribune) The entryway of Dreamscapes, a sustainable art exhibit from the Utah Arts Alliance, at The Shops at South Towne on Sunday, May 12, 2024.

A week after Smith Entertainment Group announced it is buying a Sandy shopping mall to build a practice facility and community center for Utah’s new National Hockey League franchise, a 35,000-square-foot sustainable art exhibition in the mall has been asked to leave.

The nonprofit Utah Arts Alliance received a notice Wednesday that it will have to vacate its walk-through arts exhibition Dreamscapes — which occupies part of a 100,000-square-foot space that used to be the second floor of a Macy’s department store in The Shops at South Town.

The termination letter, a copy of which The Salt Lake Tribune has obtained, was addressed to the alliance from The Shops at South Town. The letter says the lease, or license agreement, for the space will be terminated in 90 days — or August 6.

Derek Dyer, Utah Arts Alliance’s founder and executive director, said Dreamscapes will close at the end of June and start moving out.

“We don’t really have any issue with what the Smith Entertainment Group is doing,” Dyer said Monday. “We’re kind of collateral damage in the situation.”

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

A spokesperson for SEG on Monday directed media inquiries to The Shops. Late Monday afternoon, a representative from The Shops said the mall was referring all questions to SEG.

Dyer said that when his group first heard that SEG was buying the mall, they were “excited,” in case there was an investment opportunity for the Dreamscapes project.

“Then, as I read about what the plans were, I was a little concerned, because we have the biggest anchor tenant space there, and I couldn’t imagine any other spaces that would accommodate two ice skating rinks,” Dyer said.

In announcing its plan to purchase of the mall last week, officials for SEG noted that the Sandy practice space will be completed before the 2025 NHL season starts next year. In a release, SEG said it is “committed to ensuring The Shops at South Town continue to be a vibrant and integral part of the community, and the NHL practice facility is an important first step towards this goal.”

Dreamscapes has occupied the second floor of the former Macy’s location since May 2022. The first floor is now home to a car museum, Automotive Addiction. It is unclear whether the car museum — which Dyer said is on a separate lease from the alliance — also must vacate; a representative for the museum declined to comment.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The alien forest section of Dreamscapes, an immersive experience transformed by artists that promotes sustainability and uses almost exclusively up cycling materials, begins to take shape in the old Macy's at South Town on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

Before Dreamscapes moved to Sandy, it had resided in two different locations within The Gateway in downtown Salt Lake City. In 2022, Dyer told The Tribune that the move was “a symptom of something that’s happening downtown, which is people being priced out. … Artists are the first ones to go. Artists are the first ones to make the place desirable for people to want to be in, and the first ones that get kicked out.”

The exhibition features contributions from more than 100 Utah artists and builders, in what Dyer called a “complicated space” with around 100,000 items.

Much of the material in the exhibition, the alliance reported in 2021, includes 6,631 pounds of donated material from the Salt Palace Convention Center and another 5,900 pounds from the Mountain America Expo Center — just up State Street from The Shops. The alliance claimed that it is Salt Lake County’s “No. 1 partner in recycling.”

Dyer said Monday that the alliance hasn’t “recouped the funds that we’ve spent on the build out of this current space.”

Now that Dreamscapes is moving out of another location, Dyer said the alliance is trying to “remain positive and try to find creative solutions. … We are starting to just see what other options there might be to move the attraction somewhere else.”

The alliance, Dyer said, is also busy working on the Art Castle project on the west side of Salt Lake City — refurbishing a 124-year-old former church building that for decades housed a recording studio where such artists as Dolly Parton, Elton John and Eminem made music.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Artist Elmer Presslee’s work inside the candy core section of Dreamscapes, an immersive experience transformed by artists that promotes sustainability and uses almost exclusively up cycling materials, begins to take shape in the old Macy's at South Town on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

One part of Dreamscapes that has “done well” in Sandy, Dyer said, is an art gallery, the “Bizarre Bazaar,” which he said the alliance hopes to keep going.

Dreamscapes’ move comes as Utah music fans have raised concerns about the future of Salt Lake City’s Abravanel Hall, home of the Utah Symphony since its opening in 1979.

Suggestions that the concert hall could be demolished or altered have been floated as SEG begins planning an “entertainment district” adjacent to Delta Center, which SEG’s two pro teams — the new hockey team and the NBA’s Utah Jazz — call home.

Mike Maughan, a representative for SEG, told the Salt Lake City Council last week that “We at Smith Entertainment Group want Abravanel Hall on-site,” part of the planned revitalization zone near the Delta Center.

The Utah Arts Alliance, Dyer said, is excited for downtown’s revitalization, and he hopes projects like Dreamscapes can be part of those plans.

“I understand why it’s happening,” Dyer said, “but it’s a bummer for us, and it’s kind of a little devastating.”

Clarification • SEG announced on March 6 its intention to buy The Shops at South Town, but that purchase has not been completed.

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