Taubman said the development of the City Creek project would serve as a economic driver for downtown for years to come.
"This is the beginning of a rebirth, a redevelopment and a reinvestment in the city," he said. "This decision (to build City Creek Center) will really enhance and pay dividends for many generations for all the people of Salt Lake City and the state of Utah."
For City Creek general manager, Linda Wardell, getting to this point has been a long but fruitful journey.
"The energy of the shoppers has transformed City Creek Center in a way I never imagined," she said. "We are so excited to celebrate the transformation of the city!"
Angela Rojas, from West Valley City, lined up outside H&M at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and stayed all night. "(City Creek) will draw a lot of people to Utah and bring more money to the state," she said.
Salt Lake City residents were equally enthusiastic.
"It's a smart thing to have because a lot of travelers that go to Temple Square can come over here. It has a lot of the high-end stores that Utah doesn't have that will be a big draw for a lot of people," said Dustin Mack, who was also waiting for stores to open early today. "This is new age. This is cool."
"This is awesome for Salt Lake," said Daniel Joseph, who also lives in the city. "It's going to bring a big-city feel. It's good."
The retail and dining portion of City Creek Center, a $1.5 billion mixed-use development that remakes downtown Salt Lake City, features outdoor walkways, retractable roofs, a pedestrian bridge over Main Street and a creek that winds through the property.
Getting in and around the area will likely be challenging today as thousands of people are already headed to the center. Transportation officials are on scene to implement various strategies to keep the flow of traffic moving and prevent gridlock that could otherwise cast a pall over today's grand opening.
"We've been regularly meeting to create a traffic plan that would make it easy and convenient for guests of City Creek to arrive," said Wardell. "There will be greeters in the garage who will be assisting people in addition to the signage."
Dale Bills, spokesman for City Creek Reserve Inc. — the property developer owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — said extra customer service personnel will help patrons find their way around the parking structure and "make sure everything goes as smooth as possible and people are comfortable getting in and out."
There are six entrances to the parking garage — two on South Temple and 100 South, and one each on West Temple and State Street, including middle-of-the-street entrances on all but State Street.
Parking in the garage is free for the first hour, $1 for up to two hours and $2 for up to three hours with every additional hour after that running $3 — with a $20 daily maximum.
Bills also noted that the parking facility is equipped with state-of-the-art, sophisticated security systems to provide safety for visitors day and night.
"We're making every effort to make sure that traffic flows smoothly and consistently in and out of the garage," Bills said. "(We) have measures in place to facilitate 'easy in, easy out' and we're working hard to minimize waits."
Additional cars have been added to TRAX light rail to bring people into the city center.
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