Monday, February 18, 2008
City Creek Center, Salt Lake City
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.