On Salt Lake City's Main Street, things are looking up farther down.
Just south of the City Creek Center, four new businesses have sprouted, continuing what Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker calls downtown's "renaissance."
They are part of the Redevelopment Agency's Utah Theater project near 150 S. Main.
The four long-shuttered storefronts are now bright and inviting, Becker said, and will help bring new life to Main.
"What everybody wants is a vibrant city core that provides something for everybody," the mayor added. "We're seeing a rebirth of downtown."
The city's RDA bought the Utah Theater in 2009 for $5.5 million. There is no set plan for its future although various scenarios are being discussed, including converting it into a film center.
In the meantime, the RDA spent $400,000 renovating the structure's four storefronts. That effort, said City Councilman Kyle LaMalfa, who heads the RDA Board, fits the city's larger plan to rejuvenate downtown.
The new businesses lease the retail space from the RDA.
"If you just look at the money we spent on these storefronts, it's a loser," he said. "But, to be successful, you have to have a critical mass [downtown]. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
For lbou Fall and his wife, Jee Lan Fall, the RDA provided the opportunity they were seeking. The couple moved their store, Twisted Roots, from West Valley City to Salt Lake City's Main Street in November and are watching business grow.
The colorful shop at 156 S. Main offers clothes and other items with an African and Caribbean flair.
"We had been looking for a space downtown for about a year," Ibou Fall said. "Then one day I was walking down Main Street and saw the sign for the RDA, and I contacted them."
Their neighbors Ray's Barbershop, Southam Gallery and Beckett & Robb clothiers all hope Main Street and downtown are rebounding.
Jason Gates, of Beckett & Robb, said his upscale shop specializing in tailored shirts and suits was looking for a retail space downtown.
"We moved to downtown to be in a mix with the financial center here," he said. "Being near City Creek is fantastic."
Although it remains unclear how much impact the multibillion-dollar City Creek Center will have on businesses outside the mall's enclosures, the mayor said downtown is headed for a new era.
"The real key to a thriving downtown is housing a 24-7 [residential] population, and we are seeing an explosion of people moving downtown" Becker said. "With that comes a large increase in the number of people active downtown, not only in the daytime but [also] at night."
Four new businesses next to the Utah Theater:
Beckett & Robb clothiers, 150 S. Main
Southam Gallery, 152 S. Main
Ray's Barbershop, 154 S. Main
Twisted Roots, 156 S. Main