It will be at least another year before The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is ready to reveal the specialty retailers that will make up its City Creek development in downtown Salt Lake City.
But a representative said Tuesday the church is confident it will fill that component of the massive development in time for City Creek to be completed on schedule in early 2012. In the works since the mid-2000s, the $1.5 billion project will include Macy's and Nordstrom department stores, a Harmons grocery store, 80 speciality shops, restaurants, a food court, several condominium buildings, apartments and office space.
"The end is in sight," said Mark Gibbons, president of the LDS Church's City Creek Reserve Inc., the church's development arm.
Despite the bad economy, the center has two great advantages in trying to fill retail space, said Ron Loch, vice president of planning and design for Taubman Centers, which is partnering with the church on the retail and restaurant component of City Creek. The project is one of the few new shopping centers in the country under construction, and it already has its two anchor department stores committed to open in March 2012. Getting retailers interested in City Creek "hasn't been that difficult," Loch said.
Gibbons said the church's timing also has been good. Leasing activity is sluggish nationwide because of the tough economy, but by next year, demand is expected to be better. "It's fortunate we're opening when we are," Gibbons said.
Demolition work on City Creek began in November 2006 with the destruction of two aging malls and their parking structures, one office building and other structures. The church estimates that today there are about 1,500 construction workers toiling on 20-acre City Creek, down from a peak of 1,700 in the fall.
City Creek's food court, at 28 S. State St., is one of the earliest components of the development. Partially open since June, the eating area is expanding in the coming weeks beyond its lineup of five tenants --McDonald's, Great Steak, Sbarro Italian restaurants and Chinese and Japanese eateries. At capacity, it will have 11 food outlets and seating for 1,000 inside and 200 outside.
Local favorite Red Iguana, which has two Salt Lake-area sit-down locations, is adding a quick-serve restaurant to the City Creek food court next month. Red Iguana owner Bill Coker said he wasn't initially interested when Taubman officials asked if he wanted a spot.
But given the scope of the development, and the projected traffic levels in the mall, Coker said he decided that he was ready to try a quick-serve version of his popular eateries. If successful, the City Creek location could be a model for development of a quick-serve Mexican-food franchise, he said.
Also set to open is Bocata, a sandwich outlet; Roxberry, which will sell smoothies; and a Subway sandwich outlet. Owner Michael Brooks said he has high hopes for the location. "So much is going on here, we wanted to be a part of it."
On Tuesday, the church also announced:
» In March, the framework will be installed for the pedestrian bridge over Main Street connecting the two parts of the City Creek development. The bridge is set to open in March 2012.
» Work on the Harmons grocery store is set to begin in July, with completion scheduled for mid- to late-2011.
» In April, the 10-story Richards Court towers will open across from the church's Temple Square. Richards Court, at 45 and 55 W. South Temple, will feature 90 condominium units priced from about $440,000 to more than $2 million.
» Three other condo developments will follow Richards Court, although the church is in no hurry to get condos ready, given the downturn in the residential sector and sluggish residential sales along the Wasatch Front. The Regent, at 35 E. 100 South, is scheduled for completion in mid-2011. The 20-story project will include 150 units priced from about $300,000 to $1.7 million. Units in both Richards Court and The Regent are still available.
» The LDS Church also is building a 30-story, 185-unit condominium tower at 99 W. South Temple (across from Temple Square). A fourth condominium building will be built as market conditions allow.
» City Creek will include 111 apartment units, some of which will front Main Street. Completion for the rentals is scheduled for mid-2011.
» Construction is under way on a six-story office building on South Temple between State and Main streets.
The 10-story Richards Court towers are across from the church's Temple Square. They will feature 90 units priced from $442,000 to more than $2 million.
In March, the framework for the pedestrian bridge over Main Street connecting the two parts of the City Creek development will be installed.
Work on the new Harmons grocery store is set to begin in July, with completion of the 75,000-square-foot store scheduled for mid-to-late 2011.