Built to dazzle and impress, City Creek Center debuts in downtown Salt Lake City March 22 as one of the only large-scale shopping centers expected to open nationally this year. Here's what you can expect to see:
Tenants new to Utah • City Creek Center, which will be owned and operated by Taubman Centers Inc., will have about 80 retailers and restaurants in 700,000 square feet of space, including anchor stores Macy's and Nordstrom. More than one-third of the mall's tenant lineup is new to Utah or new to the Salt Lake market, including jewelers Tiffany & Co. and Swarovski, luxury sportswear chain Michael Kors and high-end handbag purveyor Coach.
The mall is part of the larger City Creek project, which includes offices, condos and apartments, and was built by the development arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Liquor, but only a trickle • Only two of the center's restaurants and eateries will serve alcohol initially: The Cheesecake Factory and Texas de Brazil Churrascaria. That's a nod to Taubman's partner the LDS Church, the dominant religion in Utah, which teaches its members to eschew alcohol.
Recent restrictions dictated by state law will put restraints on tenants that choose to serve liquor. Drink specials are outlawed. Servers may not pop open a can of beer in public view. And partitions, dubbed Zion curtains, must be erected to hide bartenders from diners.
But the fact that alcohol is being served at all is something of an upset, given that until seven months ago there were no permits available.
Two years ago, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control had issued all of the licenses available under the state's population-based quota system, set by the Legislature. Last July, among the laws that took effect was one that increased the number of restaurant liquor licenses at least for a time.
The newly issued liquor permits enabled The Cheesecake Factory and the Texas de Brazil steakhouse to serve alcohol at their City Creek locations. Under the permits, diners are required to order food with drinks, and no more than 30 percent of all restaurant sales may come from alcohol purchases.
The Utah-based Blue Lemon restaurant, the first eatery to open in the development, does not serve alcohol. And it is written into the lease that the Sixth and Pine restaurant on the second floor of Nordstrom will be alcohol-free, said a Nordstrom spokesman. The NordÂstrom Bistro Cafe in Murray offers beer and wine, as do most of its other restaurants nationally.
Down the line there may be more restaurants that serve alcohol, but that's uncertain.
Not much happening on Sunday • City Creek Center is the only Taubman-owed mall that won't be open on Sundays, as a concession to the LDS Church, which encourages its members to refrain from shopping on the Sabbath. Both anchors, Macy's and Nordstrom, were willing to make the concession to be part of the project.
Nordstrom spokeswoman Brooke White said the company's store in City Creek will be one of only two nationwide that are closed on Sundays the other is in New Jersey. Even though all shops will be closed that day, the mall's common areas will be open to the public from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Cheesecake Factory and Texas de Brazil Churrascaria restaurants will be open. All of the other eating establishments will be closed.
A dash of dazzle, through the roof • The new mall has no shortage of dramatic elements, including two 18-foot waterfalls and a 1,200-foot re-creation of its namesake City Creek that runs the length of the mall.
Three fountains from the designers of the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas will offer musically choreographed shows that feature water and fire.
From one end of the mall to the other, stone work, trees and native plants and grasses are in place that are designed to help the re-creation of City Creek look authentic. There's even a trout pond with 200 fish the Bonneville Cutthroat and Rainbow varieties.
To accommodate Utah's winters and its occasional cold nights, the mall has massive retractable roofs on each side of Main Street that open and close in less than five minutes based on the weather to create a climate-controlled environment. Most of the time they will remain open.
The open-air City Creek Center is bounded by State Street and West Temple and 100 South and South Temple. Shoppers will be able to walk east and west from one end to the other without ever encountering street traffic by using a sky bridge over Main Street.
Deals • Out-of-state visitors can get a coupon booklet with discounts to mall merchants. For Utah residents, City Creek Center has the Friends and Family Program. They can bring a friend or family member who lives outside a 50-mile radius of Salt Lake City to City Creek Center's customer service desk to receive a savings booklet for themselves and their guest, along with free admission to such local attractions as The Leonardo museum, the Clark Planetarium, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts or the Natural History Museum of Utah.
Amenities aplenty • Because the mall will be marketed as a tourist destination, City Creek Center has an extensive customer service desk. Shoppers who also happen to be travelers will be able to check on the status of their flights out of Salt Lake City International Airport and weather conditions in their destination cities.
City Creek also has an athletic club that features a pool and racquetball and basketball courts. Grocery chain Harmon's has opened a store near the mall that has a florist, pharmacy, photo lab and large deli.
City Creek Center's food court has 1,000 seats. Another 150 seats are outside the main mall for use during warmer months.
Living spaces, office spaces • The mall is part of the larger City Creek development, which includes three condominium buildings totaling 425 units and 110 apartments. Condos have been priced from the $200,000 range to more than $2 million; apartments from $1,200 to $1,900 a month.
The three condo buildings are the twin, 10-story Richards Court towers opened across from Temple Square at 45 W. and 55 W. South Temple; the 30-story Promontory tower on the southeast corner of South Temple and West Temple; and the 20-story Regent at 35 E. 100 South.
There will be an estimated 5,000 workers in office space within the development; another 2,000 will work for or in the mall. Most of the 2.1 million square feet of office space in City Creek was constructed long before the new mall and condos.