Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Shoppers walk around City Creek Center, which has brought new life and economic vigor to downtown Salt Lake City.
Record sales point to Salt Lake City’s rebounding downtown

Popularity is soaring as City Creek Center and surrounding developments take off.

First Published Jul 10 2014 02:02 pm • Last Updated Jul 11 2014 09:43 am

Retailers in Salt Lake City’s core amassed a record $800 million in sales in 2013 as younger residents, suburban dwellers and tourists sought out downtown restaurants, bars, stores and night life.

Downtown’s business clout within Salt Lake County and its overall vibrancy have improved dramatically in the past year, according to an annual snapshot of the core’s economic and overall health. Defined by the 84101 and 84111 ZIP codes, the central business district now makes up 10.8 percent of the county’s total retail sales in key categories, up from 8 percent in 2005.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

An estimated 77 percent of Utahns said they have a positive perception of downtown Salt Lake City these days, according to a recent poll. Nearly half the respondents said they have a sense of ownership and connection to Utah’s capital, which is an all-time high and up from about a third of all residents in 2009.

"Downtown doesn’t belong just to the people who live or work downtown or just to the people of Salt Lake City or Salt Lake County," said Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance. "It really is a statewide asset, and it’s important that residents of the entire state feel that way."

City Creek Center, the LDS Church’s $1.5 billion-plus retail development in the heart of downtown, has accounted for much of the business surge. After a slow start when it opened in 2012, the open-air mall near Mormonism’s landmark Temple Square is beating revenue projections, fueled by unexpectedly high patronage from out-of-staters, who now make up as much as a third of the customers.

Once-cautious predictions of additional development on blocks immediately surrounding City Creek are coming true, when only a few years ago much of downtown was sprinkled with boarded-up buildings and the streets fell quiet at night.

Last year saw dozens of new office buildings, residential complexes, hotels, theaters and sizable public structures break ground within the 500-acre central business district. A nascent sense of 24/7 liveliness is starting to rev up. And while pockets of urban blight, vacant storefronts and prominent parking lots aren’t gone from downtown’s landscape, the urban heart does seem to be turning.

"Our downtown is fundamentally different than it was just a few years ago," said Linda Wardell, general manager for City Creek Center.

And it’s not just the new mall working in downtown’s favor.

Thousands of new multifamily residential units, several new high-profile office projects, increased use of public transit and growth in urban jobs are also spurring downtown’s comeback.


story continues below
story continues below

"We’re just as interested in the development that is on the horizon or just being completed," Mathis said, "as we are about the things that have been completed over the last few years."

A block south of City Creek, construction is underway on downtown’s biggest public project: the city’s performing arts center, to be called the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater, along with the new 111 Main office tower.

Employers are increasingly drawn to such new office projects, including 222 Main and 101 Tower, for the advantage those buildings give them in attracting talented workers, said Scott Wilmarth, senior vice president with CBRE, the commercial real estate service firm.

Construction projects are coming online faster, top employers are moving in and lease rates charged for space in these new high-rises are breaking records, Wilmarth said.

"These trends shows we’re maturing as a business community,’’ he said. "We’re starting to see the value of having a labor force that can live and work in the central business district.’’tsemerad@sltrib.com

Twitter: @Tony_Semerad



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.