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Sandy RDA may fund Proscenium theater

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SANDY — Funding for the theater in the Proscenium may come from Sandy's Redevelopment Agency.

The more than $500 million project proposal states that the Proscenium would be built with private money, "not with taxpayer dollars."

According to Trina Duerkson, spokeswoman for Sandy, the developer had the idea for condos, a hotel and retail and restaurant spaces as part of the original project. The developer then approached Sandy officials to see if they were interested in financing the 2,400-seat theater.

Sandy officials proposed the theater part of the project be funded by the city because it is in an RDA area, through tax-increment financing. The city would then divert a portion of the taxes collected from the theater project toward leasing-to-own the theater, which they could own after about 20 years, Duerkson said.

Though tentative, the plan was presented to the City Council earlier this week as an option. Some on the council were in favor of funding the theater through property taxes, but others were hesitant, saying they didn't want the municipality getting into the theater business.

However, Duerkson said the theater is important to the whole development.

"If the theater won't go, the whole project won't go," she said.

She said the taxes generated by the project will exceed taxes that are currently being paid on the site as it stands.

The project will be built in three phases and will include theaters, office space, retail establishments, a hotel, condominiums and more. It is expected to be completed by 2012, according to a presentation given to the council and provided to the Deseret News.

During construction on the site, estimates say more than 4,600 jobs will be created directly and indirectly, with an aggregate payroll of $174.1 million. Various government agencies in Utah will reap a $23.3 million benefit in tax and fee revenues. The city of Sandy stands to gain $2.4 million in taxes annually.

When Proscenium is in operation, it is estimated it will create more than 4,500 jobs, which will generate $150.3 million in consumer expenditures per year. It will also generate 435 new households with earnings of $49.6 million annually, according to the presentation.

Contributing: Rebecca Palmer

E-mail: lwilde@desnews.com