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City Creek residents enjoying a new urban vibe

Published: Sunday, March 18 2012 3:42 p.m. MDT

There is a nice view of Main Street from the City Creek Landing Apartments in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, March 14, 2012.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

City Creek Center map: Download PDF version

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City Creek Center photo gallery: A view from demolition to construction in downtown Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY — Recent Lake Tahoe transplant Kate Barker, 24, moved to Utah to work for a software service firm. Having grown up in rural Kansas, she wanted to experience what living in a true downtown was really like.

She said residing at City Creek Landing Apartments in the central business district offers Main Street city living, a few blocks from her place of work, and literally sitting atop the nation's newest mall.

"There are lots of shops and restaurant nearby, so I can walk everywhere — which is huge," she said. " This city is just booming right now that I wanted to be in the epicenter of that."

The face of downtown in Utah's capital city is changing, thanks in large part to its newest large-scale retail and residential development. Poised to open Thursday at 10 a.m., City Creek Center has been much anticipated for the more than 80 shops and restaurants it will house. But the residential component has been just as much of a hit for hundreds of city dwellers.

An accomplished rodeo barrel racer, Barker owns a horse that is stabled in Kamas. She said having an apartment downtown offers her the opportunity to have "the best of both worlds" by regularly traveling to Summit County, then returning to Salt Lake.

"It's nice to juxtapose my life — living the city life and the country life," Barker said. "It's kind of nice to live two lives. I really like it."

She also said the economic boost of City Creek makes this a good place to launch her new business venture — a sports marketing agency focusing on rodeo.

"It's the happening place in Salt Lake," she said. "There's going to be a lot of traffic and as a marketing agency I (will) need that traffic for people to see my business."

That sense of optimism has prompted many more to take the urban plunge and join Barker as new residents of downtown Salt Lake City.

The massive 23-acre development includes 111 rental apartments and 425 condominium units. The rental units are currently 99 percent leased, while the condos are 30 percent sold, according to Dale Bills, spokesman for City Creek Reserve Inc. — the for-profit developer owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Among those households will be a mix of empty nesters, young urban professionals and families — all looking to be among the first to reside in Salt Lake's newest urban community.

For Davis County native Kolten Jensen, 26, urban life seemed to be a nice fit for his young family. He had lived all over the state, but found his way downtown in January after landing a job as the head fitness trainer at The Gym at City Creek.

He and his wife Kathleen, 24, were a bit reluctant at first, but have now embraced their new urban environs.

"(Living downtown) is so much better just because we can walk everywhere," Kolten said. "In Utah, this is the place where there is stuff to do."

The Jensens said having recreation, entertainment and shopping all within walking distance or a short train ride was an optimal choice for them, the parents of 2-year-old daughter Khloe.

"My only concern about living in the city is that she doesn't have a backyard," Kathleen Jensen said. "But there are parks everywhere and we love being outside, so it's not that big of a deal."

From their living room window at City Creek Landing, the Jensens have a scenic western view of downtown and of the City Creek Center retractable roof — which add to their feeling of urban living.

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