Scroll down to hear interviews with Provo business owners.
Next to the pawn shops, fabric stores and abandoned boutiques in downtown Provo comes an LDS temple in what many feel will help start a new era for the city’s heart.
Among those who work in the downtown area, many said they were excited for the temple’s arrival.
Taylor Judd, Guru’s manager, said he expects an increase in traffic.
“We believe it will bring a lot more people downtown and help business to grow,” Judd said.
Trevor Witham, an employee at Los Hermanos, said the restaurant staff celebrated the announcement.
“We all came into work cheering,” Witham said. “We were all surprised.”
Many city and business officials said they are enthusiastic about the announcement as well.
Deputy Mayor Corey Norman said the large investment The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is making in the area will likely instill confidence in other business owners and potentials.
“The Church has committed to spend millions of dollars in the area and that sends out a promising signal to those looking to set up shop,” Norman said. “Plus, any time there is a destination-type entity constructed it drives people there.”
Norman said the Church seems committed to making the experience as positive for everyone as possible.
“We’re thrilled to be business partners with the LDS Church,” Norman said. “They really want to make this as successful as possible for everyone.”
President of Utah Merchants Retail Association, David M. Davis, said he felt while the long-term benefits would be large, the short-term affects were likely to be less positive.
“The temple will definitely bring traffic into that part of town,” he said, “but initially the construction may spill out into the streets and deter visitors.”
While Taylor Oldroyd, CEO of Utah County Association of Realtors, said adverse effects of construction may or may not be a real concern, he said he’s not sure there will be much of an impact in this case for drivers.
“It’s true people often overlook the affects of construction on local businesses, but then everything may also take place inside the area they already have fenced off,” Oldroyd said. “So far that hasn’t affected business, except those the Church bought out.”
Oldroyd said he’s heard there will be underground parking and that the majority of the above-ground area will be used for landscaping around the temple.
While there are no exact statistics because of the early nature of the construction, Salt Lake assessor Dena Palca said property around temples almost always increases in value.
“Depending on their religion, people often want to live near a temple,” Palca said.