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Now 6 months behind and $7M over budget, private donors to fill gaps for Salt Lake City mega-theater

Published March 2, 2016 9:06 pm

Interior upgrades, materials add $7 million, but private donations expected to cover it.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater, opening in October on Main Street in Salt Lake City, is running about six months behind schedule and about $7 million over budget.

The good news, according to Councilwoman Lisa Adams, chairwoman of the Redevelopment Agency Board, is that the additional expenditures will be covered by private donations.

The 2,500-seat theater, originally scheduled to debut this spring, is now slated for a late October grand opening.

In early 2014, the mega-theater, capable of hosting traveling Broadway shows, was estimated to cost $116 million. That number was upped to $119 million by the time construction began in June 2014.

At that point, officials said $24 million would come from private contributions, leaving $95 million from public funds. The largest chunk of public funding — about 70 percent — will come from property taxes earmarked to retire the debt on the Salt Palace expansion and for land under what is now called the Vivint Smart Home Arena.

On the private-funding side, the Eccles Foundation, alone, donated $15 million in exchange for naming rights.

This week, Adams said, the RDA has upped its target to $36 million in private donations — an increase of $12 million.

The additional costs, Adams said, are due to upgrades in lighting and sound, as well as increased costs for construction and materials.

"Where we are is pretty impressive," Adams said, regarding the project timeline and funding.

The theater's grand opening is slated for the third week in October, said senior adviser Katherine Potter. The details of the grand opening are still being worked out. The first show is scheduled for mid-November, Potter said, although it has yet to be identified.

"The Lion King" is expected to play at the Eccles Theater in spring 2017.







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