Highlights from a day unlike any other

plentiful parking spots, strong sales reported

Published: Thursday, March 22 2012 11:06 p.m. MDT

Shoppers walks to their cars in City Creek Parking during the opening day of the City Creek Center in Salt Lake City Thursday, March 22, 2012.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — There was a traffic jam at City Creek Center on Thursday, but it didn't come on the roadways or in the parking garage. It stretched out from the front of the Disney Store, where parents John and Christine Gibby were keeping an eye on their children for any signs of road rage.

"She's really into princesses," Christine Gibby said of oldest daughter Lena, 9, who was waiting with 3-year-old sister Anna and others as the stroller backup stretched for miles, er, minutes along the second floor of the new mall. All made it inside to Salt Lake's answer to The Magic Kingdom.

It was just one of the highlights in a day filled with them, from speeches and observations, to interesting tidbits at Salt Lake City's newest attraction:

City Creek reached its projection of 50,000 visitors on Day 1, according to Linda Wardell, City Creek Center's general manger. "Today is a dream come true for us," she said.

By 1 p.m., the 5,000-space parking garage was 70 percent full. Traffic snarls didn't materialize, except for slow-moving traffic on South Temple, quickly remedied by stationing a police officer there.

Store managers greeted shoppers as they came through store doors. Other store employees served as sidewalk barkers, inviting people to "step right in" and sample eclairs or other refreshments as they explored stores for the first time.

The Cheesecake Factory had 100 people in line by its 11:30 a.m. opening. By 3 p.m. it had sold 600 slices of cheesecake. The restaurant was at capacity throughout the day and evening.

Michael Kors, purveyor of handbags, shoes and fine clothing and accessories for women and men, had sold 100 handbags by 3 p.m. Thursday.

Clothiers Bebe and 77kids by American Eagle each reported that it had met its daily sales goals within the first hour of opening.

VOICES FROM DAY 1:

"On July 24th, 1847, when Brigham Young uttered those now famous words,' This is the right place,' he followed with the emphatic directive, 'Drive on.' City Creek exemplifies the spirit of 'Drive on.' " President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS Church.

"I think it's important to note, as a government official, that this development is being done without any taxpayer dollars. This is really private investment." Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

"The quality of this development exceeds anything we have seen in Salt Lake City and probably very seldom its equal to anything in the world." Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City mayor.

"We've had a community that's backed us entirely. It's a community effort, the church just happens to be the catalyst to bring together all the parties to make it happen. When you have a world class team, you have world class people involved. These are the kinds of things that can be achieved." Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop of the LDS Church.

"(We've had) a number of inquiries through our Asian office. Different people who want to know about the project, come and see the project, understand what we've done here and how they might be able to use parts of it in other places around the world." William Taubman, COO Taubman Centers, Inc.

"It's awesome. It feels like we're not in Utah anymore." Daniel McGinnis, South Jordan.

"It feels like Vegas." Kaleigh Evans, South Jordan.

"Not since Brigham Young turned the ox cart around on Main Street has it been more exciting to be part of our capitol city. The greatest American City, in my humble opinion, our capitol city and the new heart of the American West." Lane Beattie, President & CEO, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.