Vivint Smart Home Arena upgrades could cost taxpayers

Posted at 7:11 PM, Jun 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-13 22:55:51-04

SALT LAKE CITY – Big changes are coming to Vivint Home Arena. The Utah Jazz plan on pouring millions of dollars into venue upgrades, but they need taxpayers’ help.

Jazz fans have been cheering them on since 1991 inside what was once known as the Delta Center. Today the name has changed to Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Despite the new name, the old facility is showing its age. Jazz management plans to breathe new life into the venue.

They’ll pour $125 million into renovations to upgrade safety and security features, and install solar panels.

But they’re asking the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City to give them back 40 percent of new property taxes over the next 25 years – that means they’d get a tax break of $22 million.

“It’s only paid out as they pay it in,” said Lisa Adams, Salt Lake City Councilwoman.

Frank Zang with Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment, provided the following statement to FOX 13 News:

“The renovation will bring incremental taxes to the central business district and generate significant economic impact for the Wasatch Front.”

Evelyn Averton with Americans for Prosperity in Utah is against the idea.

“Is it something that we should be subsidizing?” Averton questioned.

She said taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill for a multi-billion dollar corporation.

“We’re tired of government picking winners and losers in the economy. Many people are struggling right now and they don’t make a lot of money,” Averton said.

Averton argues that giving Larry H. Miller Group a tax break on future property taxes takes money away from school districts.

However, Adams said, schools would benefit from the deal.

“The taxpayer in the city won’t see any difference in their taxes, taxes won`t go up, it will be the jazz that sees the change,” the councilwoman said.

The Redevelopment Agency will meet Tuesday at 2 p.m. and the public is invited to weigh in. If you would like to read the entire proposal, click here.