Mormon Church-owned Mall Made $200M in First 9 Months

Associated Press/June 19, 2013

Salt Lake City - A lavish shopping center owned by the Mormon church is on track to generate $266 million in sales in its first year of operation, tax figures released Wednesday show.

City Creek Center - notable for a set of retractable roofs - apparently comes at the expense of downtown Salt Lake City's other outdoor shopping center.

The Gateway, a more family-oriented center, saw sales decline around 20 percent last year to $150 million, the Utah Tax Commission said.

The Gateway lost some tenants - including an Apple store - to City Creek Center, and tax economists say City Creek Center is cannibalizing some of The Gateway's sales. They believe City Creek Center also has grabbed shares of other shopping malls around Salt Lake City, including upscale Trolley Square on the city's east end.

Salt Lake City's newest shopping center is a marvel of technology and architecture spanning two downtown blocks. It sports outdoor walkways, plazas, fireplaces and metal sculpture. Waterfalls, fountains and a trout pond are part of the village-like development, which includes condominiums and is joined by a glass-encased pedestrian bridge over Main Street.

Opened in March 2012, it was built by City Creek Reserve Inc., a for-profit firm owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for a figure widely believed to be $1.7 billion - the church has never confirmed the figure, but doesn't dispute it. A set of condominium towers is believed to have pushed the total cost of the mixed-use development to $2 billion.

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

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