Built in 1918, the now 103-year-old Pantages is located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, UT. It has been closed since 1992 in dire need of repair. This theater is a crown jewel of architectural, historical, and artistic significance. Built first as a vaudeville theater, it dates back to the birth of cinema itself!
The Mayor, City Council, and the Redevelopment Agency are in the process of selling the theater to two massive real estate groups Hines and The Lasalle Group. Hines is a multi-billion dollar global real estate corporation. And to make matters worse, they are selling the theater for a grand total of $0, a direct slap in the face to this city and all of the people that elected these officials in the first place.
Make no mistake, the people want to see our theater saved, protected, and restored: (Join and sign our petition below!)
They want to see a century-old theater destroyed to build a skyscraper of luxury apartments that nobody asked for and that nobody can afford. This proposal was signed by the previous Salt Lake City Mayor, Jackie Biskupski in the last month of her tenure as Mayor as she was headed out the door. It was a deal that was done entirely behind closed doors with no thought of what the public wanted and was done using corruption as these developers illegally donated to political campaigns while their deals were pending with the city, including the campaign of the current Salt Lake City Mayor, Erin Mendenhall:
(Excerpt from Utah Stories investigation linked below)
"In 2019, during his time negotiating with the Salt Lake City RDA, Joel Lasalle, managing partner at the LaSalle Group, donated multiple times to candidates for Salt Lake City mayor. These donations came from Lasalle despite city codes that ban contributions by individuals with whom contracts with the city are pending.
In 2019, records show Lasalle contributed $1,000 to the mayoral campaign of state Senator Luz Escamilla (D), Salt Lake City, $500 to David Garbett, and $200 to Michael Iverson. On October 14, 2019, Lasalle contributed $2,000 to Mendenhall’s campaign.
City election laws and RDA contracts contain clauses meant to keepnich conflicts of interest from arising and improper donations from being made. Salt Lake City Code 2.46.050(H) specifically bars contributions from those under contract or seeking to contract with the city for the “rendition of personal services or furnishing any material, supplies, or equipment to the city or for selling any land or building to the city, if payment for the performance of the contract is to be made in whole or in part from city funds.”"
Destroying our theater would be a massive blow to historical legacy as well as our collective artistic future, one Utah would never truly recover from.
But! We have a plan to save our treasured Utah Pantages Theater and see it fully restored to the gorgeous movie palace it has always been. Not only can we save our theater, but we can also make it a place to inspire and support the future filmmakers of Utah for generations upon generations to come.
We are not alone! Tacoma, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis have already saved their Pantages theaters! These are sister theaters to ours that are nearly identical. Salt Lake City is next on that list!
And we need your help to do it!
Saving this theater is going to take our entire community coming together to speak loudly and clearly that our theater is culturally significant and we can not afford to see it destroyed. The theater is on its last legs and it's going to take a great deal of effort to save it from here.
We have retained an attorney to help us fight this battle and all the backroom deals that have occurred during this multi-year process. All money donated here will be going directly to pay any and all legal fees that will be needed to protect our theater.
Our plan is simple:
1. STOP THE SALE. With the help from the attorney, prevent the sale of our theater to developers that want to profit tens of millions of dollars off it's destruction.
2. PROTECT THE THEATER. With the sale stopped, we could then push the city to see the theater put on the Historical Registries, both Local and Federally. This would do two things. First, protect the theater from any future destruction as it would be an official historical landmark. And two, it would allow the theater to receive incredible tax credits that could be put toward its restoration.
3. REBUILD. With the sale stopped and the theater declared historic, we could then focus our attention on the most important part of all of this which is seeing the theater rebuilt and restored. We've already been working closely with architects and could continue this by bringing in new developers and new investors that want to take part in the restoration. As our sister theaters have already been restored and look amazing, we have no doubt that we could do the very same right here in Salt Lake City with ours as well.
Please help us and spread the word! Donate what you can to assist us with the restoration of this irreplaceable building.
And join our Facebook page:
It's not too late! We can still save our theater, but we need your help!
Let's preserve our historical legacy!
Let's cherish our architectural artifacts!
Let's support the arts and the future of Utah Film and Filmmakers!
Let's save the Utah Pantages Theater!!!
Top: Our Salt Lake City Pantages Theater in its original glory circa 1920s
Bottom: Our sister Pantages theater in Tacoma, WA. It was restored in 2018
DonationsSee top donations
- Derek Baird
- Jason McDonald
- Matthew Asbury