Lines long as City Creek marks Day 1

Published: Thursday, March 22 2012 9:00 a.m. MDT

Shoppers attend City Creek ribbon cutting during the mall's grand opening Thursday, March 22, 2012.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — After years of anticipation, downtown Salt Lake's newest crown jewel of shopping and economic development opened to much fanfare today.

Hundreds of would-be shoppers and sightseers — some waiting overnight — lined up along streets throughout the central business district to get a glimpse of the only regional shopping center opening this year in North America — and the first enclosed center built in the U.S. since 2006.

In the minutes leading up to the official grand opening, throngs of people lined the upstairs walkways and plaza level common areas listening to music and snapping photos of the many dignitaries assembled on the main stage, including the President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gov. Gary Herbert, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.

As the clock approached 10 a.m., the time had come to pull the ceremonial ribbon. On the count of "one, two, three," Taubman Inc. president, chairman and chief executive officer Robert Taubman led the cheer of, "Let's go shopping!" At long last, City Creek Center was officially a reality.

Taubman Inc. — the owner of the retail portion of the project — will oversee the operations for nearly 100 stores and restaurants in the estimated $1.5 billion mixed-use development. Currently, there are 92 stores occupying the center with three more retailers recently under contract and slated to open later this year.

"We are just thrilled to open our first shopping center in the great state of Utah in Salt Lake City," Taubman said. "We are very proud of the shopping environment we've created."

He commented how the project could not have been completed without the partnership of City Creek Reserve Inc., the for-profit development arm of the LDS Church.

Speaking on behalf of the church, President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS Church, said City Creek is now open to invite the world to come to downtown Salt Lake City.

"Everything that we see around us is evidence of the long standing commitment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Salt Lake City," he said. "Downtown, thanks to so many, is indeed rising."

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said the quality of the City Creek development exceeds anything previously seen in downtown and rivals most any other similar project in the world.

"This is a momentous day and a momentous time in Salt Lake City," said Mayor Ralph Becker. "This development is unique in America. It is a place where people can live, can work, can shop, can entertain, be entertained and gather."

"We have much to proud of associated with this development," Becker said. "We hope everyone will come out and enjoy it … throughout the region and help us celebrate downtown rising and the incredible experience and renaissance we're going through in Salt Lake City."

Gov. Gary Herbert said the project would aid in transforming and revitalizing Utah's capital city.

"This is going to be an asset to our entire state … throughout the Intermountain West and throughout the country," Herbert said. "This is a milestone and part of a new beginning for our downtown rising in Salt Lake City."

He said the project denoted the kind of economic progress that is occurring in Utah.

"This project represents the best of Utah," he said. "People working together creating great and wonderful outcomes."

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