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Sandy had some swagger in its race against downtown Salt Lake City to land the state's first Broadway-style theater.

The suburb had the site. It had the developer. It even had a quick time frame to lock in a high-profile operator - way ahead of the capital's team, which is still scouting a location.

But Thursday, Sandy stumbled. The deadline for proposals to run the planned 2,800-seat playhouse came and went without a single company - local or national - submitting a bid.

Sandy's request for such proposals "remains open," Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Scott Bond said in an e-mail. There was no mention of a new deadline, so an operator still could appear.

Still, why weren't production companies knocking down the door to land a contract in Sandy, where officials say the stage is set to bring "The Lion King" and other Broadway megahits to Utah?

After all, Sandy had courted New York-based powerhouse Nederlander Producing Company of America. Earlier this week, a Nederlander executive said he couldn't comment on Sandy's project "for political reasons," but added the opportunity "looks like a good one."

But the company didn't pounce.

On Wednesday, Salt Lake City-based NewSpace Entertainment - the current presenter of Broadway shows in Utah, including at Salt Lake County-owned Capitol Theatre - announced it wouldn't be bidding on Sandy's contract either, per the county's request.

The county is crafting a cultural-facilities master plan - due out late this summer - that is expected to determine the best spot for a big theater.

"All parties involved will benefit by having additional information upon which to base decisions regarding size, location and management" of a theater, NewSpace said.

Earlier this week, Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan said the city was "getting good responses" to its request for bids. On Thursday, he did not return calls seeking comment about the lack of offers.

"Obviously, when the local Broadway presenter declined to present, and is looking at other opportunities in this market . . . that's an important piece of the puzzle," said Bob Farrington, director of the Downtown Alliance.

Salt Lake City, led by the mayor's brother, Tony award-winning producer Bill Becker, is hunting for an urban hot spot for the Broadway stage the city has desired for more than a decade. Renovating Main Street's historic Utah Theater tops the list of potential sites. Boosters argue a theater downtown, bolstered by the concentration of arts venues, restaurants and hotels, would fare better than in the 'burbs.

Sandy counters that it doesn't need to wait for the county's study. It doesn't need county or state funds. Some city redevelopment money will do. A private developer has proposed the $50 million theater as part of a $500 million commercial project, complete with restaurants, offices and condos.

But Sandy does need an operator. Any takers?

What's next

Developer Scott McQuarrie unveils his plans for a 2,800-seat Broadway-style theater in Sandy to the City Council on April 1 at 7 p.m. in City Hall, 10000 S. Centennial Parkway.

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