"We have an active and successful cultural district already," said D.J. Baxter, the agency's executive director. "We want to augment that. I think this purchase represents a tangible step toward shoring up our cultural district."
Officials expect to finalize the deal during the first week of January, Baxter said.
An ornate vaudeville theater when it was built in 1918, the Utah Theater has been out of operation since the 1980s and needs major renovations — to the tune of $25 million by the most recent estimates — before it could again be operational.
Funding for renovations could come from a mix of organizations, including Salt Lake County and the Utah Legislature. In past years, Baxter said, legislators have toured the Utah Theater and expressed interest in its restoration.
"It will take some time for sure," he acknowledged.