In the Hive

Advocates (still) hope to save historic Salt Lake City theater as luxury apartment deal looms


Last week, a preservation-minded activist chained himself to the doors of a building on Salt Lake City’s Main Street. Michael Valentine wants to see the 103-year-old Pantages Theatre saved from demolition after the city inked a deal with real estate giant Hines and the Utah-based Lasalle Group to replace the aging structure with a luxury apartment high-rise.

The RDA, which has owned the property since 2010, is giving the property away for $0 in exchange for certain public benefits, including a commitment from developers that 10% of the 400 apartments built be affordable to households earning 60%-80% of the area median income. An individual who lives alone in Salt Lake City and makes $51,650 annually is earning 80% of the area median income, according to the city’s Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development.

Citing documentation gathered through open records requests, Valentine says the RDA too readily dismissed the idea of preserving the historic theater, and even tried to obscure the building’s potential for being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The RDA says Valentine’s allegations are untrue, that they have been transparent and have tried to preserve the historic elements of the property.

Today on “In the Hive,” the last-ditch effort to preserve a piece of Salt Lake City’s past and the ongoing tension between preservation and growth.

Michael Valentine, filmmaker-activist
Casey O’Brien McDonough, architectural consultant
David Ammot, executive director, Preservation Utah

Virtual tour inside the Pantages Theatre as it looks today
Images held by Utah Historical Society of Pantages Theatre

All images used by permission of the Utah State Historical Society

In the Hive
From local politics, to arts and culture, to history, the environment and beyond, “In the Hive” explores the issues and ideas that tie Utah together. Produced by KCPW Studios
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