Utah Symphony, Smith Entertainment Group, and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson Confirm Symphony’s Inclusion in Plans for Potential Sports, Entertainment, Culture, and Convention District

Salt Lake City, Utah — This week, Utah Symphony leadership, Smith Entertainment Group (SEG), and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson met to collaborate on proposed developments that would serve to create a Sports, Entertainment, Culture, and Convention District (SECC) in downtown Salt Lake. The district is envisioned to prioritize each of these four elements while opening an east-west corridor that will improve the connectivity of downtown and increase its vibrancy.

While much public attention has focused on a new sports arena as part of the downtown revitalization proposal, all parties are aligned in confirming that fine arts and culture will continue to have a strong and vital presence in the downtown core.

The Mayor, SEG, and the Symphony deeply appreciate the community’s engagement with the future of Maurice Abravanel Hall. It is heartening to see the affection that the community holds for this iconic venue, host to a world-renowned orchestra, which is a defining feature of Utah’s cultural identity.

The vision for a revitalization project is in the earliest stages and no decisions on the future of Abravanel Hall have been made, and the Utah Symphony, Smith Entertainment Group, and the Mayor’s Office are committed to working collaboratively toward the mutual goal of ensuring that Salt Lake City continues to enjoy the highest quality symphony hall that meets the needs of its professional musicians and community.

For more than a year, the Utah Symphony and Salt Lake County have worked on a comprehensive master plan for renovations to Abravanel Hall aimed at addressing critical needs. This plan includes ensuring ADA compliance, upgrading both front and back of house facilities, enhancing acoustical quality, technology upgrades, and modernizing the cooling and heating systems. Costs to comprehensively address these long-standing issues are estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The Sports, Entertainment, Culture, and Convention District has the potential to accelerate and improve upon the ways in which these long-standing challenges will be addressed, amplify the symphony’s presence in the community, expand access to the arts, provide the best environment for the symphony’s artists to carry out their work, and improve the patron experience in a meaningful way.

The conversations are in the very early stages, yet there is a clear commitment to providing a world-class concert hall that continues to build upon the Utah Symphony’s legacy and that of its legendary Music Director Maurice Abravanel. To that end, we need to weigh all factors, including the high cost of a renovation alongside the benefits of rebuilding.

With recognition of the importance of stakeholders and the community joining in on this critical conversation, exploration of a Sports, Entertainment, Culture, and Convention District will continue deliberately and strategically to ensure an extraordinary outcome for downtown Salt Lake City and Utah’s vital arts and culture communities.