SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - This week downtown Salt Lake is a busy place to be. Tens of thousands of people are in town for the summer Outdoor Retailer show. As good as that is for business, it may too much for the city.
Right now 28,000 people are in downtown Salt Lake for the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.
"It's such a boon to our economy, these people are staying in our hotels, they're eating at our restaurants, and they're shopping at our stores," said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.
However, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams tells Reporter Brian Carlson it might be too much for Salt Lake to handle. This year so many people are in Salt Lake, downtown hotels are overcrowded, and retailers are spread out at hotels across the valley. Some visitors are even staying at dorms at the University of Utah.
"As the show has expanded, the expansion of hotels and accommodations haven't kept up with the kind of speed that we've grown with," said Kenji Haroutunian, Outdoor Retail Show Director.
Organizers are telling Salt Lake leaders that can't continue.
"We're told that unless we find a way to have an anchor hotel here at the Salt Palace we will lose this convention in 2016," said McAdams.
McAdams said such a hotel would be the largest in the state and need at least 1,000 rooms, roughly double the size of the downtown Salt Lake Marriott. Early estimates put the cost at nearly $400 million. McAdams said talks are already in the works to clear government red tape to build it, but those talks need to speed up quickly.
"Last year we had 27 conventions who chose not to come here because we don't have a headquarters hotel," said McAdams.
Mayor McAdams said cities like Denver and Los Angeles would love to steal the retailer show from Salt Lake City. He said the first step to securing the show in Utah includes getting the State, the City and the County all on the same page so they can then recruit a hotel chain to begin building a headquarters hotel.
Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @briancarlsontv