Question: Since its opening, has the redevelopment had the impact hoped for?


Question: Since its opening, has the redevelopment had the impact hoped for?

The redevelopment of the downtown has turned out as hoped

As of July 2013, the redevelopment seems to be improving matters as hoped. The New York Times reported:

“The center has added 2,000 jobs and brought more than 16 million visitors into downtown,” according to the Economic Benchmark Report of 2013, paid for by the real estate firm CBRE. Taking into account the improving economy, the report credits the mall, at 50 South Main Street, with helping downtown retail sales increase by 36 percent, or $209 million, in 2012.

The “mall is the single most important thing to happen to Salt Lake City in 50 years, maybe more,” said Bruce Bingham, a partner with Hamilton Partners, a Chicago-based real estate developer. “It revitalized downtown.” [1]

The mall also has, as of July 2013, a 98% occupancy rate, and data suggest that there was a demand for retail space that the mall helped to fill, shifting spending from on-line realtors to the local economy:

Linda Wardell, the general manager of City Creek Center, said the mall had a 98 percent occupancy rate, with 104 stores, seven restaurants and a 1,000-seat food court. “There was a real pent-up demand for shopping in this market,” Ms. Wardell said. “Some people were already buying from these retailers online and they were eager to come here.”

Convention visitors also have been vital to the mall’s success, providing 25 to 35 percent of its sales, she said. The city benefits from year-round visitors to nearby ski resorts, five national parks and, of course, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she said. [2]

The Church's involvement also makes possible a more long-term view that entities concerned only about profit do not have:

Jason Mathis, executive director of Salt Lake City’s Downtown Alliance, a business development group, acknowledged that the church-backed development had drawn a spectrum of opinions.

“In this community,” where about 40 percent of the city’s residents are Mormon, “the L.D.S. is such a powerful large entity, it will be more controversial and evoke strong feelings,” he said. “But they’re an interesting landlord. They’re not worried about the next quarter. They have a much longer perspective than many other investors would have had. They want to know what the city will look like in the next 50 or 100 years.” [3]

Notes

  1. Caitlin Kelly, "Mormon-Backed Mall Breathes Life into Salt Lake City," The New York Times (9 July 2013).
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.