Thursday, January 21, 2010

LDS Church takes another bite of downtown

Posted By on January 21, 2010, 10:05 AM

I'm not sure how to process this news that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has purchased another 3 acres of downtown property, this time at North Temple and 400 West. On the one hand, they are undeniably savvy businessmen so it's a good sign that they believe an investment in Salt Lake City is a good one. On the other hand, what are the consequences of one owner owning so much of our city? ---

Also, when does the buying spree stop? As has been reported, the LDS Church had previously said they had no plans to purchase more of downtown, but that position has obviously been revised. 

You remember earlier this month when the LDS Church bought the 13-acre parking lot previously owned/underused by Sinclair Oil magnate Earl Holding. There's a great map by the Salt Lake Tribune at that link which shows you all the property the church now owns.

Here's a few thoughts.

I've had several discussions with people smarter than myself about how long the LDS Church condo developments within the City Creek properties will remain (almost?) exclusively Mormon. Some people think the "LDS standards" will be persistent. I've heard stories of neighbors in LDS Church-owned buildings being harassed even for the smell of brewed coffee wafting through the hallways.

But I've also known non-Mormon people who live in LDS Church-owned residential buildings who received no complaints, nor had any of their own. 

Then again, if the church plans to manage City Creek, whatever comes of the 400 South parking lot downtown, and whatever they plan to do with this North Temple parking lot the same way they manage Main Street Plaza, Salt Lakers may have 16 fewer acres on which they can hold hands with and kiss their same-sex partner, or whatever new crusade the church may choose to pursue.

Time will tell.  


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Jesse Fruhwirth

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