I remember the announcement of the Sandy location for the permanent home for Real Salt Lake, it left me and many fans scratching our heads. With vacant lots north and south of Little America, it seemed like a downtown stadium was going to be a sure thing, but when the property was rezoned and improved and the prices jumped it forced Dave Checketts to look elsewhere.
Sandy came calling with more land for less money and was a willing partner to the team unlike Salt Lake, which seemed more concerned about what they could get out of the team. I remember Steve P. coming into the stands and talking with fans about the decision, taking a earful from most who simply didn't like the thought of suburban location.
Wow, knowing what happened in Seattle this year, one has to wonder if the higher priced land would have been worth it for Dave and his investors.but hindsight is always 20-20. Dave had a great vision for that land in Sandy but that was before the property bubble burst and the current economic funk began. If that final vision will ever come to be is hard to say, but I believe there is still a real shot for development around the stadium, but that will require money and a lot of it. Could that be part of the reason for the sell off of part of the team to Dell Loy Hansen, a real estate developer? Only time will answer that question.
One this is sure and that is that the prime location just north of Little America has finally been sold, and I am sure it is no surprise that it was the LDS Church that bought up the property, giving them 13 more acres of the downtown map. According to Salt Lake Tribune estimates on the price are in the 25 million dollar range, which seems very high given the current economic picture.
It is a shame that RSL was denied a downtown home, and just shows that even those with lots of money who you would think would be above petty fights and grudges, aren't. Only time will tell if the decision to bypass the more expensive downtown land for the suburbs was the right one, but I don't know a person yet who hasn't been impressed by Rio Tinto Stadium.
OFF MY SOAPBOX