Lawmaker introduces bill to clarify leases after Fair Park loses RSL deal

Posted at 12:30 PM, Mar 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-06 19:23:21-05

SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah State Fair Park lost out on a deal to bring a minor league stadium to the park.

Officials said it was over issues with the lease.

Now a state lawmaker is introducing a bill that he said would help future lease agreements.

Losing the Real Salt Lake deal was a big disappointment for the Utah State Fair Park.

Leaders worked with the state to renew the park's lease for another 40 years so RSL could build a minor league soccer stadium with its own money.

They reached an agreement back on Jan. 26.

Months later, RSL didn't want to wait any longer and walked away.

Rep. Gage Froerer introduced a bill he said would clarify lease agreements going forward.

He said the problem with the RSL deal was there was no clear direction on how the state agency should approve leases and subleases.

The new bill would require the division of facilities construction and management and the state building board to approve subleases over 50 years.

It is a move criticized by a member of the fair board.

Utah Fair Board member Randy Parker said he worries that if the board can't approve leases on its own, it may lose out on another opportunity to bring in a new tenant.

"What happens after a man of that stature of Dell Loy Hansen and the Real step aside," Parker said. "What is the message to the business community at large? Does that create a problem for us as we hopefully entertain future opportunities to enhance fair park? I don't know. We'll know that the next few years, I guess."

However, Froerer said, "Obviously the developer, RSL, had a need to move ahead, which we understand, but at the state level, we move things a little slower here because we need to."

The committee approved the bill unanimously and now the House will have a chance to vet it.