Sinclair Oil will begin construction of its $180 million five-star hotel on Block 34 next month, without the help of the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency.

Sinclair Oil will build its 900-room convention center around property owned by two small business, the Flower Patch, 502 S. Main, and Safelite Auto Glass, 510 S. Main.The oil company received approval from the Salt Lake Planning Commission Thursday for a conditional use permit to build its twin-tower project on the 91/2 acres the company owns on the 10-acre block.

Then oil officials met with the RDA board and asked it to terminate the RDA district on Block 34. The Salt Lake City Council, acting as the RDA board, voted unanimously to do so.

Sinclair Oil told the RDA it would oppose the redevelopment district on that block, the same district Sinclair Oil had asked the city to create two years ago. Since Sinclair Oil is the principal property owner on the block, its opposition makes an RDA project nearly impossible there anyway under state law.

The company told the city it plans to start building next month, said Salt Lake City Principal Planner Doug Dansie.

Time had become critical to Sinclair Oil. The company stands to lose as much as $600,000 a month with construction delays, said Neal Stowe, assistant to the chairman in planning, design and construction at Sinclair.

Sinclair Oil rearranged the design of its twin tower project after Flower Patch refused to sell its property for $500,000, according to James Boud, attorney for Flower Patch. The owner of Safelite Glass Auto Glass also refused Sinclair Oil's price, Boud said.

But a third owner, Karl Mayer, sold his corner lot to Sinclair Oil several weeks ago, allowing the corporation to move forward with construction plans.

The commission's conditional use permit allows Sinclair Oil to build its project farther back from the street than city ordinance requires. It can also build taller in mid-block and shorter on the corners than the ordinance calls for, Dansie said.

The new design reflects a relocation of a 12-story executive hotel originally positioned on the corner of State Street and 500 South that will now be placed in the center of the block's north side along 500 South.

"We don't own the property (on the corner)," Stowe said. "That's why we're moving the smaller tower. Or we may be forced to eliminate it altogether.

"But we need to continue and move forward with this," he added. "We need to respond to the demands of our guests coming into the city."

City officials unanimously recommended the proposed development, stating it would "bookend" the Main Street retail district by matching the LDS Church property comprising the church office building and fulfill a requirement from the downtown master plan to anchor the urban sprawl with a complex at the south end of town.

The elimination of the RDA district means the city can't do some of the positive things on Block 34 that it wanted to do, said RDA director Alice Steiner.

The power of the RDA would have been used to eliminate the blight on the flower shop and auto store property, she said. "Now we have no way to force them to clean up their property. We are hoping now that the property owners will clean up their own blight. Since Sinclair Oil is making a major investment next to them, we really hope they do their best to make their properties a real asset to the community."

The city had planned to use some of the RDA tax increment money to foster low-income housing. "Obviously, without a project area, we won't be able to do that," Steiner said.

Finally, the city can't improve the public walkway behind the new courts complex without the RDA district. "We wanted to make it a broader and better public walkway," Steiner explained.

Stowe said Sinclair Oil will design and build its project consistent with nearby development. The company plans to use granite and cast stone and possibly copper roofs.

The complex - situated between State and Main streets and 500 and 600 South - would be an economic boon to the city by employing 900 people and generating more than $7 million in annual taxes.

It would also dignify an otherwise blighted area of downtown, company officials contend.

"Salt Lake City really needs and could use a five-star hotel, a top, top operation comparable to the best in the world," Sinclair Oil president Earl Holding proclaimed when he presented the project to the City Council in January.

The project will feature more than 65,000 square feet of convention and meeting space, public gardens and courtyards, two restaurants and almost nine acres of underground parking.