In the heart of this western capital’s downtown, the Mormon church and mall owner Taubman Centers Inc. are preparing to throw the wraps off a retail anomaly next week: a megamall with eye-popping extras such as a man-made creek, retractable roofs and a fountain that erupts in choreographed jets of water and fire.
Costly amenities aside, City Creek Center stands out simply because malls this size aren’t often built in the U.S. anymore. New projects have been choked off by retail overbuilding, the rise of online shopping, curtailed expansion by department stores and store closures by mall stalwarts such as Gap Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp.
But the 700,000-square-foot mall has something other projects don’t: financial backing from the development arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormon church is formally known. That has enabled the church and Taubman to include numerous high-price extras and to lure high-profile retailers.
The mall is 92%-leased ahead of its scheduled opening March 22. Its tenants include Nordstrom Inc., Macy’s Inc., Tiffany & Co . and Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. as well as midmarket retailers like Foot Locker Inc., Gap and others.
Church officials say that more is at stake than a return on its investment. Located across the street from the main Mormon temple and headquarters complex, it is also designed to make a statement about Salt Lake City.Continue Reading on online.wsj.com