There's no question that Triad Center's bankruptcy, the closure of its retail stores and the massive negative publicity surrounding former owner Adnan Khashoggi and his legacy of "failed promises" has driven away many firms that might otherwise have leased office space in the west downtown complex.

But not all. More than 100,000 square feet of space was leased at the center in 1988, and joining those new tenants last month was advertising agency and public relations firm Dahlin Smith White, which leased 14,000 square feet in 5 Triad, the building that is also home to KSL Broadcast House.With many alternatives available to the firm, DSW President John Dahlin said the decision to move into Triad Center was well thought out.

"We had looked around for a year investigating downtown Salt Lake City," said Dahlin, whose firm has grown from three associates to more than 40 in just three years.

"After we overcame the idea that (Triad Center) wasn't just going to go away, we decided there was a lot to recommend it, especially to an ad agency. It has aesthetic factors you don't get in an office tower that we liked - a creative environment, if you will - that stems from the office campus environment."

Dahlin said he and his associates initially had the same problems with Triad Center that others have: It doesn't live up to the original publicity hype the proj-ect received when it was launched.

"It's not the big vision that Khashoggi had, but there are still three nice buildings and, for what it is, it's still a nice office complex," said Dahlin. "People compare it to the original vision and have a problem with it. But that's not today's reality."

More importantly to tenants, he said, the center's image problem has made its owner, The Travelers Companies, and its leasing agent and property manager, Grubb & Ellis, work harder to make a deal with prospects and keep them happy after they sign on the dotted line.

"They were really willing to work with us," said Dahlin. "We didn't want the standard look of an accounting office or law firm and they created an exciting environment for us."

Dahlin said he has no regrets.

"We feel we made the right decision because it was a real enhancement for our employees. It's been like going from a junior high to high school: awkward but exciting."