A year later, City Creek revitalizes downtown

Published: Thursday, March 21 2013 7:55 p.m. MDT

The development includes 111 rental units and 425 condominium units, along with more than 700,000 square feet of retail space.

“City Creek enjoyed a strong first year of full operations,” he said. “Condominium sales are steady, our office space occupancy is at above market rates and our rental apartments (City Creek Landing) are fully leased.”

While the rental occupancy has been at 100 percent since March of 2012, more than half of the condominium units at 99 West, The Regent and Richards Court remain listed as for sale. The 219 units range in price from $243,000 to $2.36 million.

On the retail side, 98 percent of the available square footage at City Creek Center is currently leased, according to marketing manager Dee Brewer. Since the opening, only one tenant has left, Big Sal's Sandwich Shop, and the retail roster has expanded, said general manager Linda Wardell.

With an estimated 16.2 million visits annually, the center is expecting to continue to attract shoppers and diners to the central business district and become the “rising tide that lifts all boats,” she said.

“City Creek has definitely revitalized downtown,” Wardell said. “We are partnering with the Downtown Alliance and working on ways that we can make downtown stronger.”

That optimism also rose from the corporate level of the new center.

"City Creek Center has exceeded our expectations in terms of traffic and business, and the attention the project continues to get globally for its beauty and uniqueness," said Karen MacDonald, communications director for Michigan-based Taubman Inc., which owns city Creek Center.

Taubman would not comment on how City Creek Center performed in comparison to the rest of the centers in the company's portfolio. Prior to its opening, some questioned the decision to keep stores closed on Sunday. But MacDonald said the success thus far of the development quieted concerns.

"The stores understand that the shopping center is closed on Sunday when they sign their lease," she said. "They believe they can be as successful in six days of operation as they would be in seven elsewhere."

The Gateway

The development of City Creek Center was touted as boon for the downtown economy, including its largest retail competitor to the west — The Gateway. During the past 12 months, The Gateway has experienced the loss of such staple tenants as the Apple Store, Ann Taylor and Anthropologie — all of which relocated to City Creek Center — and more than a dozen other stores.

Despite the turnover, the managers of the shopping and entertainment center said they are preparing to reposition The Gateway for a new era and are planning a $2 million investment in the property.

“It has been an interesting year for The Gateway with the new shopping center downtown, but it has certainly been a successful one,” said Scott Bennett, general manager of The Gateway. “While we lost some retailers, we retained the vast majority, gained another nine new merchants and had two of our merchants expand their stores. So we have 100 merchants and more restaurants than any other shopping center in the state.”

Retail Properties of America Inc., which owns The Gateway, is launching a $2 million improvement plan focused on “ambiance, community and being green.” The additions include installing soft-seating areas, which will more than double the center’s existing seating as well as upgrading landscape and hardscape areas.

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