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City Creek Center
City Creek Center is a multi-use development in Salt Lake City, Utah, located near the temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are sometimes called Mormons.
The land is owned by the Mormons but leased to Taubman Centers. The Mormons receive a portion of the profit above a specific platform. This arrangement actually provides very little profit for the Church, but it was not built with profit in mind.
The area near the temple, the leading tourist attraction in Salt Lake City and sacred ground to Mormons, was becoming seedy. During a recession, it was not likely a private company would step in to revitalize the area, and so the Mormons did so. This would allow both tourists and worshippers to enjoy a pleasant environment when visiting the temple.
The project was the first mall developed since before the recession 2008 and it provided many jobs during a time when construction work was hard to find. More than 1700 people were hired to work on the project during the recession and it is now providing 2000 permanent jobs. More than eighty percent of the construction workers were local, and all three general contractors were Utah companies.
The mall is part of a mixed-use development project that includes businesses, homes, and recreation, designed like a small city. Sierra Club praised the project’s environmental friendliness, recognizing it in "Faith in Action: Communities of Faith Bring Hope for the Planet," a national report of the Sierra Club.
The mall is meant to encourage pedestrian traffic and includes walkways, skyways, two waterfalls, and even six acres of open green space and streams. The green space has a natural ecosystem. More than fifty percent of construction debris was recycled and all plants are native, which is considered essential to a healthy environment. The project has received LEED Silver. LEED certification is very difficult to achieve and represents a very high standard of environmental responsibility. The Sierra Club noted that the project also encourages the use of mass transit.
The center is canine-friendly and many retailers allow well-behaved dogs into their stores. It also received an award for the best retail development in the Americas in the 2012 International Property Awards and was in the top-three for the best in the world.
The project was not paid for with tithing money. The Mormons maintain a corporation with a small number of for-profit companies. Money from this corporation is used for projects that would be inappropriate for tithing. The Mall was built from these funds and serves to provide several benefits greater than the small profit. The Presiding Bishop of the Church, H. David Burton, noted that one reason was to encourage other investors to come forward and invest in the area. When the project began, other companies did decide to become involved, seeing the potential for revitalization with this new project.
A central goal in constructing City Creek Center was to revitalize Salt Lake City's downtown area. That goal has been realized in just one year.
An article in the New York Times praised the success of the retail development and said it is pivotal in the revitalization of downtown Salt Lake City. According to the Economic Benchmark Report of 2013, paid for by the real estate firm CBRE, even taking into account the improving economy, the mall, at 50 South Main Street, has helped downtown retail sales increase by 36 percent, or $209 million, in 2012.
- The “mall is the single most important thing to happen to Salt Lake City in 50 years, maybe more,” said Bruce Bingham, a partner with Hamilton Partners, a Chicago-based real estate developer. “It revitalized downtown.”
- Mr. Bingham’s company has since completed a $135 million, 425,000-square-foot office building nearby, at 222 South Main Street, leasing office space to Goldman Sachs, law firms, financial services businesses and others. “We’re pushing 85 percent leased,” Mr. Bingham said. Early next year, Hamilton Partners will break ground at 111 South Main Street for a 24-story, 450,000-square-foot building, estimated to cost $150 million.
The mixed-use development currently has 111 rental apartments, which are fully leased. There are also 424 condominiums for sale with 50% sold and sales picking up with the better home-sales environment.
- Linda Wardell, the general manager of City Creek Center, said the mall had a 98 percent occupancy rate, with 104 stores, seven restaurants and a 1,000-seat food court.
Only the restaurants in the City Creek Center are open on Sundays, honoring Mormon religious practice and the Mormon temple across the street.