City Creek moves ahead despite economic downturn

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    Sept. 28, 2011 4:58 p.m.

    What does it matter where the Church got that money? They are doing a good thing for Utah and the Church at the same time. It's a win-win.

    If I was the leader of a large Church, and wanted to invest $1.5 billion, I would first think of the most Christlike way to spend that money...then I would build a $1.5 billion mall.

    I completely agree with the decision. It's the most profitable way to invest that money, and therefore, the most Christlike way. Just look at the parable of the talents. The Church isn't burying its cash, it's investing it like a wise steward.

    Many people don't realize how much Jesus taught his followers about building personal wealth, but that's a huge part of what His Ancient and Restored Gospel is about. Fortunate for us in Utah, LDS Church leaders do.

    Do you nay-sayers think Jesus is going to fill his Kingdom with people who don't invest wisely? Well Jesus said he won't. Stop being curmudgeons about this mall then!

  • DanB Portland, OR
    Sept. 28, 2011 1:26 a.m.

    Regarding morpunkt's comments

    Not only were tithing funds not used, only funds generated by church-affiliated for profit businesses in Utah were used. The church used funds only from Utah businesses and none from outside of the state. All of those construction jobs, all of the jobs that will be created in the shopping center came from funds generated in Utah with 0 debt. Don't you wish your government was so efficient?

    So you can sleep well morpunkt, no funds from church owned businesses in California were used.

  • SunDevil9 orem, ut
    Sept. 27, 2011 10:43 p.m.

    I'm a bit confused by the direction of this article. If you project to rent space for $30 per sq. ft. and the market will only give you $15 per sq. ft. because you mistimed the market, how is that a success? There is a reason other commercial developers aren't building right now. The return on investment is not there. As a member of the church I would prefer the church not make poor investments such as this.

  • Wanda Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 27, 2011 6:40 p.m.

    ClarkKent et al,

    No way would there be a Walmart at City Creek - just ask the City Council - Walmarts only belong on 3rd West or farther southwest - even if Walmart already owned property as it does on Parley's Way, but was recently prevented from rezoning in order to demolish and rebuild.

  • Floyd Johnson Broken Arrow, OK
    Sept. 27, 2011 3:43 p.m.


    LDS buisness and property holdings began early in church history. They are not clearly documented, but they can be discovered. Much of the property was simply settled and claimed when the church moved west. Portions of property were sold over decades for development and the profits remained in the general portfolio of holdings. The portfolio is quite substantial and annually generates a significant amount of money (yes they pay taxes). Some properties generate income from agriculture, and others (like this mall) generate income from rent. In addition to agriculture (sugar, peanuts, beans, almonds...), church owned businesses include restaurants near Temple Square, BYUtv and 35 radio stations, Deseret Books, Beneficial Life Insurance, and a shopping district in Hawaii. The LDS church is the largest private land owner in several states including Florida where they produce more cattle than any other company in the country. LDS business holdings are a stabilizing force in many communities. This project, for example, employed thousands during a down economy. When one considers the entire LDS portfolio, and the amount of time it has been increasing in value, it is very reasonable that they can pay cash for a $1.5 billion project.

  • Utes21 Salt Lake City, ut
    Sept. 27, 2011 2:33 p.m.

    I would be bitter to if I didnt know how to spell Walmart.

  • PookyBear84010 KAYSVILLE, UT
    Sept. 27, 2011 1:31 p.m.

    The church owns farms, cattle ranches, orchards, etc. Those affiliated businesses earn income and provide food for church welfare and other charity efforts. I assume money from those businesses was used to fund this project.

  • ouisc Farmington, UT
    Sept. 27, 2011 12:30 p.m.

    I have to admit, the City Creek downtown project appears to be well-done. They were extremely careful to recycle what they could during the destruction phase....they recycled stuff I didn't realize you could recycle! They've thought through so much detail in the design and construction of the new buildings. There is no question the construction teams awarded the bids for this job appreciate the timing of this ginormous project--City Creek has helped Utah hide from much of the national recession!

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    Sept. 27, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    From the article, "Before we started any demolition and eventually construction, reserves were set aside," Bills said. Those funds, he noted, were generated by church-affiliated businesses, not tithing donations from church members.
    If a person genuinely believes in tithing, that money is really not ours, but God's. The good news for me is that I really don't worry about it's use as I totally trust the church to handle it properly. If it isn't handled properly, then those responsible will be accountable.

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    Sept. 27, 2011 12:07 p.m.

    Thank for elucidating that.
    Just one other question. What funds were used, from which church budget?
    I need a follow-up.
    Then I'll let it rest.

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    Sept. 27, 2011 11:17 a.m.

    no tithing funds were used.
    you're probably the only person in the country that hasn't shopped at walmart. you must really be wealthy. sorry your experience in utah is so negative. there are 49 other states that might make you happier.

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    Sept. 27, 2011 10:20 a.m.

    Good for your Utah economy, with out-of-state tithes?
    Not fair for my state's economy.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 27, 2011 10:18 a.m.

    It's a great time to build if you've got the money. Adopting a buy-low, sell-high mentality will help you, and that's what this project has done.

  • bikeboy Boise, ID
    Sept. 27, 2011 9:36 a.m.

    "The economy is showing signs of recovery"?? What signs are those? From my seat, things look pretty stagnant. Kinda like the big pool of slow-moving water just before the huge waterfall.

  • CheeseFries SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 27, 2011 9:26 a.m.


    The church has thousands of employees worldwide. Projects like City Creek raise capital to pay for salaries, travel, lunch meetings, etc., everything that every other business in the nation has to budget for.

    There is the gospel side to the church, and the business side. Stocking the Bishop's Storehouse and providing FEMA-type supplies to every world disaster is not possible from the scraps that people donate as fast offerings. It is projects like City Creek that make it all possible.

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    Sept. 27, 2011 9:21 a.m.

    Will it have a Wallmart? Cause really .. the majority of residents in this State are too cheap to shop at a nice shopping mall! I'd guess the church will be supporting this mall for years. But it will give visitors the impression that God is favoring Salt Lake City with affluence now won't it.

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 27, 2011 9:21 a.m.

    I've always thought that the Church's objective is not to make money with City Creek but to upgrade the land surrounding Temple Square.

    The Church owns the land on which City Creek is built, so it didn't require financing to purchase the property. Lease and sales revenues will handle construction costs. In the big picture of things, the Church has served to upgrade Salt Lake City while at the same time keeping its own interests protected.

    And it did so without help from the city. Mayors of large cities all over the country would do anything to get a private organization to do for their cities what the LDS Church is doing for Salt Lake City.

    A good deal for everyone.

  • Ronnie W. Layton, UT
    Sept. 27, 2011 8:14 a.m.

    People are critical to the LDS church for spending so much money into this project. While I think they are overly critical("let's criticize how they donate their millions!") they are missing the big point. This brings jobs to people. People will always be critical of the church. Imagine if the church had just decided to stay out of it? Don't bite the hand that feeds the state economy.

  • sports-junkie West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 27, 2011 7:48 a.m.

    Looks nice. Thank you for adding to the beauty of our wonderful city!

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 27, 2011 7:47 a.m.

    How are the Condo part of the project doing?

    Are they selling for what they were designed to sell for or are they sellingfor a discount?