Becker to announce mega-theater architects
Downtown • Three city firms in running to design Utah Performing Arts Center.
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It probably won't be a duet. But Nicole Parker, the green witch from the Broadway musical "Wicked," will perform alongside Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker on Wednesday when he announces the architects who will design the mega-theater planned for Main Street.

It isn't likely that Becker will warble Glinda's part in "Defying Gravity," like the good witch does with Parker's Elphaba in "Wicked." In fact, a city news release says she'll belt out instead a solo of "The Wizard and I."

Meanwhile, Becker will make known the city-based firm that won out to design the $110 million venue to be located between 100 South and 200 South.

The finalists announced in May are: Architectural Nexus, in conjunction with H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture; GSBS Architects in conjunction with Pfeiffer Partners Architects; and HKS Architects, in conjunction with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.

Renowned architect Moshe Safdie, who put his stamp on downtown with the design of the city's showcase Main Library, failed to make the list of finalists for the theater project.

In all, 14 firms had applied for the job to shape the planned 2,500-seat Utah Performing Arts Center, which is expected to attract traveling Broadway shows such as "Wicked." The mayor and the city's Redevelopment Agency tout the planned playhouse as key to spreading downtown's renaissance.

The city has invited Salt Lake County to partner on the project. The County Council is weighing the proposed $28.2 million buy-in. The price tag comes attached to an operating agreement for the county that would split profits 50-50 up to $2 million. It also would pay the county $600,000 a year to mitigate impacts to the Capitol Theatre, Abravanel Hall and Rose Wagner Theater, which the county operates.

Becker said last week the project would go forward with or without the county.

If the county were to back away, some of the facility's amenities would be pared back, but it would retain, according to planners, the envisioned seating capacity.

¬≠csmart@sltrib.com —

Announcement set

P Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is expected to announce the architects of the planned Utah Performing Arts Center on Wednesday at noon at 135. S. Main.