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Laura Seitz, Deseret News
There is a nice view of Main Street from the City Creek Landing Apartments in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, March 14, 2012.

City Creek Center map: Download PDF version

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City Creek Center photo gallery: A view from demolition to construction in downtown Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY — Recent Lake Tahoe transplant Kate Barker, 24, moved to Utah to work for a software service firm. Having grown up in rural Kansas, she wanted to experience what living in a true downtown was really like.

She said residing at City Creek Landing Apartments in the central business district offers Main Street city living, a few blocks from her place of work, and literally sitting atop the nation's newest mall.

"There are lots of shops and restaurant nearby, so I can walk everywhere — which is huge," she said. " This city is just booming right now that I wanted to be in the epicenter of that."

The face of downtown in Utah's capital city is changing, thanks in large part to its newest large-scale retail and residential development. Poised to open Thursday at 10 a.m., City Creek Center has been much anticipated for the more than 80 shops and restaurants it will house. But the residential component has been just as much of a hit for hundreds of city dwellers.

An accomplished rodeo barrel racer, Barker owns a horse that is stabled in Kamas. She said having an apartment downtown offers her the opportunity to have "the best of both worlds" by regularly traveling to Summit County, then returning to Salt Lake.

"It's nice to juxtapose my life — living the city life and the country life," Barker said. "It's kind of nice to live two lives. I really like it."

She also said the economic boost of City Creek makes this a good place to launch her new business venture — a sports marketing agency focusing on rodeo.

"It's the happening place in Salt Lake," she said. "There's going to be a lot of traffic and as a marketing agency I (will) need that traffic for people to see my business."

That sense of optimism has prompted many more to take the urban plunge and join Barker as new residents of downtown Salt Lake City.

The massive 23-acre development includes 111 rental apartments and 425 condominium units. The rental units are currently 99 percent leased, while the condos are 30 percent sold, according to Dale Bills, spokesman for City Creek Reserve Inc. — the for-profit developer owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Among those households will be a mix of empty nesters, young urban professionals and families — all looking to be among the first to reside in Salt Lake's newest urban community.

For Davis County native Kolten Jensen, 26, urban life seemed to be a nice fit for his young family. He had lived all over the state, but found his way downtown in January after landing a job as the head fitness trainer at The Gym at City Creek.

He and his wife Kathleen, 24, were a bit reluctant at first, but have now embraced their new urban environs.

"(Living downtown) is so much better just because we can walk everywhere," Kolten said. "In Utah, this is the place where there is stuff to do."

The Jensens said having recreation, entertainment and shopping all within walking distance or a short train ride was an optimal choice for them, the parents of 2-year-old daughter Khloe.

"My only concern about living in the city is that she doesn't have a backyard," Kathleen Jensen said. "But there are parks everywhere and we love being outside, so it's not that big of a deal."

From their living room window at City Creek Landing, the Jensens have a scenic western view of downtown and of the City Creek Center retractable roof — which add to their feeling of urban living.

"The biggest (factor) for us was this place was right in the middle of City Creek," he said.

"We had looked at other places in the area, but we made the mistake of seeing these brand new City Creek apartments first," he said with a chuckle. Once they saw the new places and realized the convenience of the location, they were sold.

In fact, they initially figured on staying downtown for about a year before looking for a house, but have since reconsidered.

"We might stay a couple more years because it's so convenient and we save a lot of money because we don't have to drive," he said.

"I love living here … I love everything about it," Kathleen said.

In the future, the couple said they might consider purchasing a condo nearby to continue their urban lifestyle.

City Creek will house a total of approximately 800 households over several large properties. Located on South Temple, Promontory houses 185 units in its 30 stories — representing the largest residential structure at the City Creek project.

In 2010, the first City Creek residents moved into Richards Court — two 10-story buildings located on South Temple. Also included is The Regent at City Creek, a 20-story residential tower located on 100 South between State Street and Main Street.

While not a City Creek resident, Johnny Vigil, 27, recently moved to the downtown area to enjoy the faster paced lifestyle that is now available with the new development that is underway. Having grown up living in Sugarhouse, he wanted to branch out and try a new way of life.

"There is a little more culture to the restaurants and dining downtown," he said. "Things seem to be getting more exciting in the downtown area."

He said the "energy" in downtown is greater than it's ever been, making it an ideal time to experience urban living before settling down.

"Before that happens, it's fun to be out and about to enjoy … (what's) going on in downtown," he said.

Vigil noted that the infusion of new residents brought in by business firms relocating or expanding to Utah has helped enhance the "feel" and "buzz" of downtown.

"The majority of them (are) from New York and other places around the world, and they're bringing a whole new urban style to downtown Salt Lake," he said.

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