"We talked a lot at that time about Main Street," said Crane, of VCBO Architects.
On Tuesday, the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency gave the duo a shot at designing and building what officials believe will be a major piece in downtown's revival: a 2,500-seat, Broadway-style theater on Main Street.
The RDA voted to negotiate exclusively with a development, construction and architect team that includes Crane and Safdie, to build the theater.
Garfield Traub Swisher beat out Hines Interests, an international firm that owns the Kearns Building in downtown Salt Lake City, for the right to develop the theater.
"It was very difficult to come to a decision," said community and economic development director Frank Gray, who sat on the selection committee.
In the end, officials said Garfield Traub Swisher's latest effort, the Durham Performing Arts Center, mirrored the Salt Lake project and gave that firm the edge.