New numbers show economic impact of City Creek, Gateway malls

Posted at 8:08 PM, Jun 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-18 23:28:07-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Taxable sales figures obtained by FOX 13 on Tuesday reveal how much of an economic impact the newly built City Creek Center had on downtown Salt Lake City -- and on The Gateway mall.

The Utah State Tax Commission tallied up the 2012 taxable sales, breaking them down to the City Creek Center and The Gateway. They do not include the real estate housing in both developments.

"We just took a snapshot of both Gateway and City Creek," Utah State Tax Commission spokesman Charlie Roberts said Tuesday.

The City Creek Center, built at an estimated cost of $2 billion, opened in late March of 2012. The numbers provided to FOX 13 reveal that the mall made more than $200 million in about nine months of operation.

"We are very pleased with the performance of the center and thrilled to be part of the revitalization of downtown Salt Lake City," City Creek Center General Manager Linda Wardell said in a statement to FOX 13. "We look forward to the next steps in downtown's growth and vitality."

The numbers surprised even downtown business boosters.

"Clearly they're doing even better than we anticipated," said Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance. "City Creek is doing really well, even only being open six days a week."

City Creek Center, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is closed on Sundays. It was built in the space of the former Crossroads and ZCMI Center malls, which languished as shops fled west to The Gateway.

Taxable sales figures show that The Gateway still fared well, even though it made $40 million less after City Creek Center opened. In 2011, The Gateway generated $190 million in taxable sales. In 2012, that number dropped to $150 million.

"I think people have been concerned about Gateway for a while," Mathis said. "I think we're still monitoring that, but I think the story here is Gateway is really resilient."

In its own statement, Gateway mall managers said they remain a "vibrant, downtown destination for shopping, dining and entertainment."

"There was a shift when City Creek opened, but one that we anticipated and one we expected as part of a thriving and growing downtown," the statement said.

The Gateway has been trying to keep up, differentiating itself as an entertainment district and courting retailers to replace the stores that fled to City Creek Center. It is also undergoing a $2 million renovation in time for the holiday shopping season.

"This all goes to show that even though it was an adjustment for downtown Salt Lake City, two shopping centers can certainly exist and thrive together," the statement said.