The LDS Church may have lost a court battle in its fight against a strip club opening a block from Temple Square. But, in the end, it got what it wanted: The Crazy Goat Saloon, formerly the Dead Goat, has closed.
And no other strip club can take its place anywhere downtown, thanks to recently enacted zoning rules.
Salt Lake City records show the club officially closed in early December, though it had been shuttered for several months because of a water leak.
“It’s closed, and the Dead Goat has relinquished the [sexually oriented business] license,” said Alan Sullivan, an attorney for the church. “So far as we’re concerned, the case is over.”
And the now-vacant building that housed the club at Arrow Press Square, 165 S. West Temple, could be sold by month’s end.
Vasilios Priskos, owner of the brokerage firm Internet Properties, said he has the building under contract for Utah speculators who wish to remain unidentified for now.
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The closure of the saloon “absolutely helped with the sale of Arrow Press,” Priskos said.
Other potential buyers had balked over owning a building with a strip club. Priskos said his buyers liked that the building would be empty.
“It was a dead space that still had a lease on it,” he said. “It was better to have a vacant building than to have one tenant.”
Priskos said the future owners have no immediate plans for the square’s two buildings: The Glass Factory Building and Hotel Albert. They date to the early 1900s, and a brochure from the 1970s shows the square once was a bustling center, with restaurants, jewelers, clothing shops and hair salons.
The property is prime real estate, sitting across the street from the Salt Palace and next to the Crossroads Plaza mall, which will be demolished and converted by the LDS Church into City Creek Center, an estimated $1 billion mixed-use project with new retail and housing.
Arrow Press also sits on a block at the center of discussions for a downtown arts district, which would include a Broadway-size theater. Capitol Theatre is nearby and could be renovated and expanded to include a studio for Ballet West.
“The buyers are very interested in the cultural-block development,” Priskos said. “They’re also very interested in preservation. They’re also investors. It’s a speculative purchase.”
The square easily could be demolished because it is not protected through the city’s historic register.
The LDS Church started fighting the Crazy Goat in 2003 after club owner Daniel Darger – who could not be reached for this story – received city permission to turn his saloon into a semi-nude dance club. The church sued the city, arguing the club posed a nuisance and would interfere with its plans for the Crossroads Plaza and neighboring ZCMI Center blocks.
The city eventually regretted its decision to OK the dancers, though it won the court case.
In 2004, the City Council banished future sexually oriented businesses from downtown to west-side industrial zones.
City Councilman Eric Jergensen was a ban backer.
“I don’t think it speaks well of the diversity of the city to have a strip club downtown,” he said. “When we have people come into our city from all over the world, I think we can put a better face on our downtown than that.”
The church appealed to the Utah Supreme Court, but now the case is moot.