This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated.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.
A new high-rise hotel on the Salt Palace property may join the downtown skyline soon.
New zoning would allow a 375-foot tall convention center hotel on the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center property between South Temple and 200 South from West Temple to 200 West.
The Salt Lake City Council has changed the zoning there that had been capped at 75 feet at the request of Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. The county had originally sought an unlimited height limit to help attract a hotel developer to build an 800-room convention-center hotel.
Salt Lake County officials who oversee convention-related matters are considering two sites for a megahotel within the Salt Palace footprint.
The most desirable is on the northeastern side, according to McAdams, on land now occupied by the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, between Abravanel Hall and the main Salt Palace entrance on West Temple. A second possibility is south of there, on the northwestern corner of the intersection at 200 South and West Temple.
Salt Lake County asked the Salt Lake City Council to change the zoning to allow for unlimited height.
Residents of the high-rise at 99 W. South Temple told the council at an earlier public hearing that a high-rise hotel would spoil their views.
But in an afternoon work session, city Councilwoman Lisa Adams said a 375-foot-tall hotel would not affect the 99 West's views to the west.
The council turned its back on the unlimited height limit and determined not to go as high as one proposal that set 425 feet as the maximum height.
A new 800-room hotel would help accommodate large conventions, particularly the Outdoor Retailer trade shows that come to the Salt Palace semiannually.
By comparison, The Grand America Hotel, 555 S. Main, has 775 rooms but takes up a much larger footprint than what is contemplated at the Salt Palace.
The Wells Fargo Center, 299 S. Main (completed in 1998 as the American Stores Tower), is 422 feet high just 2 feet taller than the LDS Church Office Building, 50 E. North Temple.
That has led to speculation that such a large number of rooms in a convention hotel on a relatively small parcel of land could lead to the tallest building in Salt Lake City.
Councilman Stan Penfold said 375 feet is reasonable if a site review is part of the approval process. The council passed the new height limit with the site design review. It included nonbinding language that favors the southern end of the property as the site for a hotel.
Since 2012, the county has sought a developer for a public-private partnership to build a hotel that could serve as a headquarters for big conventions. In conjunction with the state and the city, it developed a $75 million, post-performance tax incentive to attract a developer.
Last fall, negotiations with Dallas-based Omni Hotels and Resorts to build a megahotel broke down.
The county issued a second request for a proposal and, in February, opted to proceed with negotiations with DDRM Cos. of Sandy. That firm helped develop the St. Regis Hotel at Deer Valley and the Hilton Anaheim in California.