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Developers pounce after Crazy Goat’s demise

Sale pending on block near Temple Square

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A notorious strip club has left its downtown location for good, and that departure, combined with work beginning on the City Creek Center, has spurred interest among developers for the block that the club called home.

The Crazy Goat Saloon — formerly the Dead Goat — had been vacant for several months because of a water leak, and the club closed and relinquished its business license in December. The owner also agreed to give up his lease so that the building where the club had been located can be sold.

The club and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had been fighting for years over the club's location, at Arrow Press Square, 165 S. West Temple, a block from Temple Square.

The LDS Church filed a lawsuit against the city after the Dead Goat was granted a sexually oriented business license in 2003. The church lost, but its latest plans for downtown renovation are helping push the club out after all. Church representatives could not be reached for comment late Friday.

The pending sale, according to real-estate broker Vasilios Priskos, is partially thanks to the LDS Church's planned City Creek Center, which has increased the value of nearby property. The Arrow Press Square block is also part of what city and county leaders see as a future cultural-arts district.

"It's well positioned by the (City Creek) project, across the street from the convention center, with other arts and culture venues nearby," Priskos said of the building.

That building is now under contract with a buyer, and Priskos expects the deal to close in the next 30 days or so. Crazy Goat owner Daniel Darger, who is a part owner in the building, has agreed to terminate the club's lease because the would-be buyers were only interested if the building was vacant.

"It really didn't make sense to have one small business (the saloon) in the building," Priskos said.

With the club on the way out, the sale is nearly final, and something new is likely around the corner. But at this point, no one knows what that is.

"There is no agenda going into it," Priskos said.

He said the deal is "absolute speculation" and that the buyers are merely banking on the fact that the property's value is only going to go up as the church's retail-residential-office complex gets closer to reality.

He said anything is possible, although "it's highly unlikely" the building will be torn down. And he said he expects that whatever is coming next shouldn't be too far off.

"A vacant building doesn't make any money, but at the same time, you want to do what's best for the city and be able to make a dollar doing it," he said.

Darger could not be reached for comment, and it is unclear whether he plans to reopen the Goat elsewhere. But a 2004 zoning ordinance now prohibits strip clubs and similar businesses from opening downtown.

E-mail: dsmeath@desnews.com