On Monday, the city granted the first demolition permits for the mall-redevelopment project, allowing the church to raze the Inn at Temple Square.
While the hotel won't come down until sometime later this month, the church can start preparation work, including adding barricades and signs, as soon as 10 tonight.
The church, Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance held a news conference Monday to celebrate the start of what will become an estimated $1 billion development. The executives also wanted to stress that downtown - including, until January, the ZCMI Center and Crossroads Plaza malls - will remain open for business.
"For its [City Creek Center] size and its immensity, it's pretty well contained," said Bill Knowles, the construction ombudsmen hired by the city, chamber and alliance. "Salt Lake City is not going to be [shut down] by this [construction]."
Through the holiday shopping season, the mall parking garages will remain open. Parking on the street will be free for two hours after Thanksgiving. And the remaining mall retailers, including Macy's and Nordstrom, will be open.
Mark Gibbons, president of the church's Property Reserve Inc., hasn't set a specific date for the inn's demolition, though the city said the target date is Nov. 13. He did say it won't be imploded, but instead will be taken down piece by piece. That's because the church hopes to recycle as much material as it can.
"We're going to do all that we can to respect the principles of sustainable design," he said.
The inn will be replaced by a 26-story residential tower with 122 units. While the city hasn't approved the new tower, it is allowing the hotel's demolition with the stipulation that the church abide by decisions made by the Planning Commission in the future, said Orion Goff, the city's director of business licensing and services.
The demolition will affect pedestrians and drivers minimally.
On West Temple near the inn, one northbound traffic lane will be closed, along with the sidewalk. The sidewalk on South Temple will be closed, though a covered walkway in the street will take its place.
After the holiday season, the city is slated to issue demolition permits for the Crossroads parking garage, the mall itself and the Key Bank office tower. That work should be done by mid-2007. The ZCMI Center mall and some surrounding buildings also will be torn down, starting next year.
"We are absolutely thrilled the first tangible work on this site is now ready to proceed," Gibbons said.
Lane Beattie, president of the Salt Lake Chamber, worries shoppers will be intimidated by the construction and stay away. He vowed to "do all we can" to ensure remaining retailers around the mall remain viable. He noted 100 restaurants, hundreds more ground-floor businesses and dozens of clubs will be open downtown.
And Bob Farrington, executive director of the Downtown Alliance, noted the new mall, at 20 acres, will comprise just 5 percent of downtown's 400 acres.
City Creek Center will include up to three department stores, smaller retailers to fill 300,000 square feet, 300 residential units, a grocery store and a representation of the south fork of City Creek. It is expected to open in 2011.
"It's going to be quite an odyssey," Goff said.