The LDS Church as Developer

The Salt Lake City Council recently voted to allow the construction of a “sky bridge” over Main Street as part of the construction of a new shopping center in downtown Salt lake City. Skyways are nothing new to us Minnesotans, but this will be the first skyway constructed in SLC. This has been a pretty contentious issue for several reasons. First, some peeps just don’t like skyways for urban design reasons. Second, some peeps argue it will rob the city of much-needed street life. Third, the developer is the LDS church.

The LDS church as a developer is an interesting topic. I wonder how many (if any) of the city council members are LDS and how that influenced their decision? What sort of pressure would a member of the church be under to approve a proposal by the church? I wonder if there would be any consequences if an LDS councilmember vocally opposed the project?

To take it a step further, I wonder if there would be any consequences of any member of the church vocalized opposition to any construction project proposed by the church. Would it be appropriate for an LDS church member to actively (and legally) picket the construction of a new chapel if they opposed the project for environmental reasons?

1 comment to The LDS Church as Developer

  • Rory

    My dad works as a construction consultant and director of scheduling for a large commercial construction company in Salt Lake. I have heard him discuss this, and other church projects both religious and not, many times. I can tell you that there are most definitely people in the industry who are LDS and still have many disagreements over church projects. Most of the frustration I have heard people express usually comes about after a company has received the bid for a job and started to work on it. The quarrels come about as to the best way to complete tasks and be cost effective. It my experience it also seems that there is less disagreement if the construction project is strictly religious as opposed to the secular ones. It also makes a difference in who from the church you are talking too. When they were doing the conference center and Pres. Hinckley identified somethings that needed to be changed or done, no one had much of a problem. On the other hand, if it's just some guy in their development department I think most people, member or not, view him as they would a contact from any other company. Not sure how city council meetings go, but I do know that there are both members and non on the council.