Demolition of Utah Theater might begin Tuesday amid final-hour efforts to cease it

Group filed an emergency movement Sunday searching for to dam plans to tear down the historic Main Street playhouse and substitute it with a luxurious house tower.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Main Street facade of the Utah Theater in downtown Salt Lake City, as seen on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. Demolition of the venue might start Tuesday.

Developers say they intend to start out tearing down the Utah Theater in downtown Salt Lake City as early as Tuesday — nicely forward of a May 2 courtroom listening to sought by historic preservationists in hopes of halting the demolition.

The lead lawyer for Texas-based Hines, which plans to construct a luxurious residential skyscraper on the Main Street locale, filed authorized papers late Friday saying Salt Lake City had issued its allow for razing the century-old theater “earlier than expected” after Hines completed all its pre-demolition work, together with preserving a few of the web site’s key options and unhooking it from metropolis utilities.

The Hines subsidiary behind the challenge, Main Street Tower Owner LLC, or MSTO, “plans to proceed as soon as possible as it has always planned to do” with demolition now set for Tuesday, Hines’ Salt Lake City lawyer, Bruce Baird, wrote.

MSTO, in keeping with Baird, “has always intended to demolish the theater as soon as permits for the demolition could be obtained and has been unequivocal in its public position on that.”

Supporters of saving the dilapidated neoclassical efficiency corridor, led by a gaggle known as Friends of the Utah Pantages Cinematic Theatre, scrambled Sunday to file an emergency request in third District Court aimed toward blocking the transfer, urging Judge Robert Faust to enact a brief restraining order instantly, with out holding a listening to.

Group co-organizer Casey McDonough mentioned that Faust has set a listening to for Monday at 1 p.m.

The decide was initially set to overview the restraining order request Thursday, however that listening to was postponed to May 2 after Baird asserted he had a calendar battle.

Friends of the Utah Pantages Cinematic Theatre mentioned in its courtroom temporary that Hines was now speeding to knock down the theater earlier than the decide had an opportunity to determine its claims.

“It appears that the sole reason for developer’s haste in destroying the theater is [to] moot [the] plaintiffs’ lawsuit,” their Salt Lake City-based lawyer, Karthik Nadesan, wrote within the emergency submitting.

Baird sought to guarantee Faust in Friday’s briefs that the request to reschedule to May 2 was “made in good faith” and “not made at all to delay a decision or to prevent the court from ruling on the issues before it.” And though Hines was “not in any way obligated to do so,” Baird wrote, MTSO filed to inform the courtroom of its intentions to maneuver forward with demolition “in an effort of maximum candor.”

The lawyer asserted that Hines is dropping 100 thousand {dollars} every single day the challenge is delayed as a consequence of misplaced rental earnings, elevated development prices, inflation, provide constraints and rising rates of interest — “to name a few factors,” he wrote.

Baird additionally reaffirmed Hines’ claims, first aired in early March, that Friends of the Utah Pantages Cinematic Theatre lacked authorized standing to sue within the matter, had “no likelihood” of succeeding and “have not suffered any harm, let alone an irreparable harm.”

Theater backers say the playhouse’s destruction would symbolize an incalculable cultural and historic loss for the town and have been combating since late 2019 for it to be saved and restored as a downtown movie venue.

Opened in 1918, the venerable venue served as a venue for native performances and high touring acts of the day resembling Abbott and Costello, Will Rogers and baseball legend Babe Ruth. The construction at 144-158 S. Main is greatest referred to as a preferred film home from the Nineteen Thirties by means of the Nineteen Seventies

Hines plans to construct a 31-story luxurious tower dubbed 150 Main Street Apartments on the web site, together with an adjoining walkway and pocket park. Its plans with the town additionally embrace salvaging and repurposing key options of the constructing, which the town purchased in 2010.

The theater group, two enterprise homeowners and different residents sued the town and its Redevelopment Agency in late February, alleging public officers had didn’t adjust to Utah regulation requiring extra full examine and experiences to state authorities earlier than they bought the positioning to Hines.

They are arguing that due to the run-down theater’s eligibility for itemizing on the National Register of Historic Places and the town’s expenditures of public funds on razing or rehabilitating it, state regulation required officers to evaluate and disclose potential unfavourable results of their plans to the State Historic Preservation Office.

After a March 8 listening to, Faust denied their movement for a brief restraining order, calling the case “weak” and noting “glaring” issues with their authorized strategy , together with suing metropolis officers within the matter however not Hines, the property’s proprietor.

Faust left open the choice for Friends of the Utah Pantages Cinematic Theatre to reshape and refile the movement, which the group did final Tuesday.

The group has now dropped Salt Lake City from its lawsuit and added MSTO, whereas additionally submitting displays from consultants testifying to the theater’s “historical and cultural significance as one of only a few vaudeville-era theaters in Utah to have been adapted for film.”

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