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Provo • The city will begin negotiating with the LDS Church over the price of a half-acre of asphalt south of the burned-out Provo Tabernacle.

The Municipal Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to declare as surplus property a .447-acre slice of 100 South, from University Avenue to the west end of the tabernacle property. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has asked to buy the property as part of its plans to convert the tabernacle's ruins into the Provo City Center Temple.

Wayne Parker, the city's chief administrator, said the city is not selling the rest of the street, because it is needed for access to the U.S. Post Office and Nu Skin Enterprises' parking deck.

Parker said the church has expressed an interest in purchasing additional property along 100 South, and at that time the city will sell additional sections of street to the church.

The church has already bought the former Travelodge Motel and Los 3 Amigos restaurant to the south of the tabernacle, along with the former Hotel Roberts site. It has also indicated it will purchase Nu Skin's parking deck.

Parker said he could not comment on whether the church was planning to buy the post office.

The church, Parker said, is planning to put in underground parking for the temple, and will use 100 South as the entrance and exit for it.

A city traffic study determined that closing 100 South would not create traffic problems in the city's downtown.

The next step is for the city and the church to sit down with a property appraisal and decide on a price for the land. Parker said the agreement with the church calls for the church to pay the cost of moving any underground utilities.

When the city vacated 100 West between Center Street and 100 South for Nu Skin Enterprises' headquarters expansion, the city's Redevelopment Agency paid $1.025 million for the street. The RDA gave the property to Nu Skin, and the city will recoup the money through property taxes, city spokeswoman Helen Anderson said earlier.

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What's next?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will break ground for the Provo City Center Temple at 9 a.m. May 12.