Monday, February 18, 2008

City Creek Center, Salt Lake City

Some have asked the question why should City Creek be designed to blend better in with the community. Some say it is not their responsibility to boost sales along Main Street and help the rest of downtown. While yes, they are not responsible for helping the rest of downtown, it is ironic that they would actually benefit by developing their center so it more integrates with the rest of downtown.

What will City Creek add to the area that it does not already have? Well we do know the area is getting a Harmon's Grocery Store but that is actually separate from the rest of the complex. Beyond that what will set this place apart from say Fashion Place Mall or the new Cottonwood Center?

Actually nothing. In my case if I want to shop at either of the two big retailers that will be in the center, I could do that at Fashion Place Mall. Most of the smaller stores in the center will be the typical chain stores found anywhere else including the new Cottonwood Center which is a half hour walk from my apartment.

So what will draw me or someone like me to the center? Not much. Why should I fight traffic or take two buses just to get to a center that has nothing unique in it? It is ironic that Nordstrom's was also involved in the Riverpark Square in Spokane which is much like City Creek except it is enclosed. It suffers because it offers nothing that the suburban malls do not offer it people have little incentive to shop there unless you live in the downtown area or the immediate vicinity (which I did).

Also notice in the design that the open space only opens up to the Church area to the north and a small section to 100 South. Beyond that there is little focus on the rest of downtown. Instead it is designed for people to drive into the center, do there shopping and leave the area and not share them with the rest of the area. In other words Gateway II.

Now just imagine if the complex was designed so it flowed into the rest of downtown. People would be encouraged to walk around the area instead of shopping there and leaving. It would create new retail opportunities. It would give new life to the stores along Main Street. This would create new marketing dynamics. People would come to the area and spend more time. They would be encouraged to stroll the other streets and find unique shopping opportunities. It would give more reasons for people to travel to downtown.

The City Creek project has the potential to greatly increase the marketability of the area, but not as it stands now.

4 comments:

theorris said...

Very apt analysis. Isn't modern-day planning all about containing people and not letting them wander outside of your particular space? I think they learned it from Logan's Run. Thus we have a skywalk so folks won't be able to escape the "City Creek Center Experience."

Anth said...

I disagree with your criticism of the open space. Because of a final paper in one of my classes at the University of Utah, I have met with the chairperson of the SL Planning Commission twice for interviews. The Planning Commission has required CCRI to make all the entrances to the mall open space and open to pedestrians so it is UNLIKE Gateway (those were his words). The Planning Commission was concerned about the entrances/exits to the mall; all of them open up with pedestrian access. I believe the mall
will not be as detrimental to our community as you believe.

I recommend you do some further investigation before you post this on the web.

theorris said...

Anth,

How then does the chairperson account for the open space being only broadly open to the north and very limited openings to the south? If you note Main Street is pretty much totally cut off aside from the sky bridge and the serpentine through way. Are there going to be shops along Main Street?

Anonymous said...

I am excited about the whole project! The other malls were old and needed to go. We need the bridge, remember all the people trying to cross between the malls as people tried not to run them over? What is new will be all the new housing down town, this will help everyone not just the City Creek project. This will help bring new blood down town. Also since millions of tourists come to Temple Square every year we should have stores, places to eat and walk close by that we can be proud of. I like how open it will be including trees, water, flowers, etc. It is wonderful that there will be new jobs, nicer buildings and money poured into downtown and our economy. It is a great location just across from the Salt Palace. Having Harmons there is filling a need we have had for many years. I am thankful that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is caring enough to keep improving things. We know they will do an excellent job.