It could be Gateway II, only with less retail.

The plan is for sprawling new development — including a small convention center — in downtown's southern end if Salt Lake City can persuade Real Salt Lake to build a new Major League Soccer stadium there.

Friday, the mayor's office publicly released the pitch it gave to RSL owner Dave Checketts, which focused on how the potential stadium could revitalize the city's downtown region.

Mayor Rocky Anderson stressed Friday that the plans are only conceptual.

"These are mostly ideas, some of them for the future," Anderson said.

The presentation noted a soccer stadium could be a catalyst similar to what the Delta Center was in the early '90s to the Gateway district in western downtown.

"If the stadium wants neighborhood renaissance potential, similar to the Delta Center, this site offers the greatest potential because all of the ingredients exist. They merely need the spark to ignite," the presentation stated.

The proposed soccer site is on Block 22 south of 600 South and east of West Temple. A stadium would spark significant new city and private projects in the area, according to the presentation.

Some of those city projects include a new TRAX light rail stop next to the area, a new "park-and-ride" parking structure on neighboring blocks and new potential mixed-use developments. That mixed use would include retail, housing and office space.

The plan, which seeks to "develop a gateway image for south downtown," even calls for Gateway-style architecture and new urban design for the region.

All the efforts would take a good deal of money, and if the Salt Lake Redevelopment Agency does buy Block 22 for the stadium, it will have little money left in the West Temple Gateway project area for new development, RDA Board Chair Eric Jergensen said.

Downtown's southern end already has more going for it than the Gateway area did when the Delta Center was built. There are 4,000 hotel rooms within a three-block radius, existing restaurants and private clubs and an existing retail anchor.

The revitalization pitch might be attractive to Checketts, who said this week he wants to be part of the downtown solution.

"I can do this in Murray for less money, but I don't think that helps us solve the downtown problem, which I want to help solve," Checketts said. "Anything that can be done downtown ought to be done downtown. The perfect situation is to have a downtown stadium."

Murray has its own proposal for a MLS stadium on a 100-acre site near 4500 South and I-15. That site would include housing, a Target store and a Lowe's home-improvement store and would have space for practice fields and other soccer-related facilities.

A public meeting on Murray's proposal is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday at Murray City Hall. Checketts will decide whether to put the stadium in downtown Salt Lake City or Murray by at least Feb. 1.

Real Salt Lake wants free land to build its $60 million stadium. The team also wants $30 million in public funding, which it hopes to secure through a special bond election in Salt Lake County this year.

The team would first have to persuade the Salt Lake County Council to put on the bond election. Then the bond would have to be approved by voters.


E-mail: bsnyder@desnews.com