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Breaking tradition » From the time of its opening and through its first year, City Creek has stood out for reasons good and, well, maybe not so good.
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Fears of “Mormon mall” rules subside
Because of City Creek Center’s proximity to the LDS Church’s Temple Square and because of the church’s business partnership with mall operator Taubman Centers Inc., some civil liberties advocates worried a year ago that rules of conduct would be unusually strict and lead to confrontations. Taubman officials have been quick to point out that any restrictions are identical to ones at any of Taubman’s other two-dozen centers nationally. And although City Creek marketing director Dee Brewer said he’s been surprised by the number of times people have asked whether shoppers would be told to leave for violating rules, he noted ejections have been rare and conflicts few. The most frequent question, he said, is whether shoppers are allowed to sport tattoos. The answer? Yes, they are.
Feeling the impact of City Creek Center
Harmons City Creek » First downtown market in half a century; serves 1,000 lunches weekdays and sales are up 7 percent since its opening.
The Gateway » Lost 16 stores to neighboring City Creek but has Megaplex movie theaters, Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum, Clark Planetarium and the Urban Art Gallery, and has started a $2 million renovation.
Fashion Place Mall » A spokeswoman said sheer distance means there’s little competition with City Creek. The Murray mall has several of the same stores, such as Nordstrom, Macy’s, Apple, H&M and Crate & Barrel. It scored a recent coup by landing Utah’s first Lego store.
Station Park » Several City Creek tenants also are opening at the Farmington mall, such as Chico’s, H&M and Brighton Collectibles. Harmons is the grocery chain’s first Davis County store.
Developed by Taubman Centers Inc. in partnership with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is anchored by Macy’s and Nordstrom, with more than 100 stores and restaurants. The center has some tenants other malls don’t, such as jeweler Tiffany & Co.
Since its debut, 14 more stores have been added, including Apple, which broke a 10-year lease with The Gateway.
Microsoft Corp. plans to open its first retail store in Utah on April 11, following its strategy of placing outlets in the same malls where Apple already operates. Brio Tuscan Grille (which also is at Fashion Place) is under construction, as is Alex and Ani, a marketer of eco-friendly jewelry. Johnny Rockets restaurant (which also has other locations in the valley) will open in June.
Initial concerns about limited alcohol service dampening the center’s appeal seem to have faded. Liquor is available at only two restaurants, The Cheesecake Factory and Texas de Brazil Churrascaria. Nordstrom even agreed not to sell alcohol in its cafe. That’s a nod to the LDS Church, the dominant religion in Utah, which teaches its members to abstain from alcohol.
City Creek also is the only mall among two dozen operated by Taubman that isn’t open on Sundays, in yet another concession to the church. Only The Cheesecake Factory is open that day.
LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson and other church leaders were present for the mall’s opening. But a church spokesman this week referred comment on the center’s first year back to Taubman.
Nordstrom spokesman Collin Johnson said the company "is fortunate to be a part of the City Creek Center, and we’re encouraged by response from our customers."
The retailer had closed a store downtown in January 2007 after 27 years when the old Crossroads Plaza and ZCMI Center malls were demolished to make way for City Creek. Johnson said Nordstrom was gratified at how many of its former customers returned.
Benefits where you find them » As for City Creek’s direct financial impact, that’s harder to quantify. Salt Lake City officials cannot specify how much the city has benefited, but sales tax revenue for the municipality had increased nearly 11 percent year-over-year by the end of the third quarter, according to the most recent figures available from the Utah Tax Commission.
By comparison, tax revenue for Salt Lake County increased by less than 9 percent. (No other city in the state comes close to what Salt Lake City collects.)
Although some neighboring businesses aren’t seeing much benefit from City Creek’s presence, others are as more people visit downtown.
A survey for the Downtown Alliance last fall said of more than 400 responses from Utahns statewide, 67 percent said they had visited City Creek. Of those, 45 percent said they also shopped or dined at a store not connected to the mall. The survey, conducted by Richter 7 and Lighthouse Research, had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
"Businesses that do their own marketing are benefiting from City Creek, and those that don’t aren’t," alliance executive director Jason Mathis said. "The mall is bringing people downtown, but businesses must be proactive to get people through their doors."
Main Street barber shop owner Ray Francom said he doesn’t see much overflow from City Creek. Most of his customers come from surrounding hotels and office buildings.
His business has increased sixfold in the past few months. His shop opened in February 2012. "City Creek could have something to do with it," he acknowledged.
One immediate benefit to downtown spurred by the mall was the opening of Harmons City Creek market, on the eastern edge of the project. It is the first large urban grocery to open in the business district in a half century.
Co-owner Bob Harmon said executives knew the store would have a big lunch crowd; they were not disappointed. The store serves 1,000 lunches each weekday, with 1,000 also being the number of seats in City Creek’s food court. Sales receipts are up about 7 percent in the first year.
Now the market at 135 E. 100 South is concentrating on attracting downtown neighbors long accustomed to driving elsewhere to shop. That’s been a much more difficult endeavor "because we’re talking about changing people’s habits," Harmon said. Research has shown that within the City Creek store "footprint" — including downtown, the Avenues and surrounding neighborhoods — there are 30,000 households.Next Page >
City Creek Center anniversary sales*
City Creek Center » Get a free tote when you spend $200 in one day of shopping or dining; present receipts at customer service desk (ask about gift card promotion)
AT&T » $100 off any computer tablet with two-year agreement. Free equipment, waived fee and two months free service on any home-phone activation with two-year agreement; 20 percent off accessories
Banana Republic » 25 percent off your entire purchase, valid Friday only
Bauer’s Fashion Eyewear » 20 percent off all merchandise, including sale items
Clarks » 20 percent off all handbags, accessory items
Disney » $7.50 Scented Mickey Mouse or Minnie Mouse plush with every $25 purchase
Express/Express Men » Her: 30 percent off dresses, tees $15.90 and up, shorts $29.90 and up
Him » Tees $19.90, Polos $24.90, shorts buy one, get one for $29.90
GODIVA Chocolatier » Get a free GODIVA apron with a purchase of $20 or more
LensCrafters » 50 percent off lenses with a frame purchase
Macy’s » Drawing for a $250 gift card, music and a fashion show at 2 p.m. Saturday
N3L Optics » Buy one pair of sunglasses, get a second pair at $25 off
Nordstrom » Earn triple points for every purchase you make Wednesday through Friday with your Nordstrom credit or debit card
Pandora » Receive a sterling silver Pandora clasp bracelet (a $65 value) with your Pandora purchase of $100 or more
Swarovski » Enjoy fun and flair on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. Receive crystallized nail polish set with any $150 purchase
Texas de Brazil » $25 off two regular dinners
TUMI » 20 percent off everything
White House|Black Market » Receive a $25 Style Reward with every $125 purchase
* Valid Monday through Saturday unless otherwise noted. All offers subject to availability. See stores for details.
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