South Towne's owner and retailers aren't the only ones anxious for the project to take off. The City of Sandy, where the $100 million project is built, has planned much of its future business and government developments around the 112-acre shopping mall.

But Sandy City officials don't appear very disappointed in South Towne's slow start and are confident the project and their own plans for the area will be realized."We will see some things happen in the next few years," said the city's community development director Mike Coulam.

Sandy drafted its "Concept 2000" in 1978-79, with the 106th South exit of I-15 functioning as the city's business and government center. Surrounding South Towne Center, Sandy has plans for government offices, auto dealerships, hotels, parks, schools and a main boulevard winding through the area.

"We don't see just a major mall," Coulam said. "We want it to be different than anyplace else in the valley" adjacent to the freeway.

Past master plans are fairly ambitious, with a golf course crammed in one strip of land near the freeway and a transportation hub built around a proposed, and controversial, aerial tramway that would take skiers from Sandy to ski resorts in the nearby canyons.

Coulam admits some of the ideas are "pie-in-the-sky."

He said the sudden slowdown in Sandy's growth and real estate market, which has brought South Towne and surrounding developments to a halt, turned out to be a blessing, enabling the city to reconsider some its plans for the area.

"In addition to bringing land prices down, it has given us time to breathe and take a second look."

Coulam said Sandy is not considering scaling back on its dream to turn the area around South Towne into the city's business and government hub, but with things moving more slowly than anticipated the area has a better chance of becoming developed in a planned way and not as a "hurried hodge-podge."