City Creek Center and Station Park: A Utah comparison

Posted in News -

By Vince Horiuchi | The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published Dec 12 2013 01:01 am • Last Updated Dec 13 2013 08:51 am on

Once a week, Jazmin Gonzalez of Brigham City makes the one-hour trek south just to go to her favorite shopping mall in Salt Lake City. That’s how much she adores the new City Creek Center nestled between 100 and 200 South on Main Street.

“My happy place is there — the Disney Store,” she said. “I love the feel of that mall. It’s very pleasing.”

Gonzalez could easily go to a number of malls that are much closer to her, but her willingness to keep driving to City Creek just demonstrates the love and loyalty that some shoppers have for their favorite malls.

Yet while the owners and developers of City Creek were getting all the attention last year for their luxurious one-of-a-kind open-air shopping center — partly due to its partnership with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the property it sits on — a similarly ambitious open-air mall already was in the works just 30 minutes north of there in Farmington.

Station Park, a sprawling 62-acre center just west of the Lagoon amusement park, is nearly three times the size of City Creek in area, but it never attracted the same pomp and circumstance as City Creek did when the latter opened its doors in the spring of 2012. Station Park — which is still under construction and has three-quarters of its occupancy filled by retailers so far (leases for 93 percent of the mall have been signed) — first opened in July 2011 and is expected to be completed by fall of next year.

It may not have a gigantic retractable roof, a winding 1,200-foot creek running through its property, or the state’s first Tiffany’s jewelry store like City Creek has, but Station Park does have some of the same high-end amenities as City Creek, such as a multi-million-dollar computerized fountain and a much sought-after Apple Store.

Both malls also have plans for mixed-use properties. City Creek now has about 800 condominiums as well as office space on the property while Station Park will have a 125-room hotel by the end of next year and 125,000 square-feet of office space.

Station Park also can boast some important features that City Creek doesn’t have — namely, state-of-the-art movie theaters through Cinemark, a martini bar, and most noticeably, the fact that it’s open on Sundays. Because of its partnership with the Mormon Church, City Creek’s retail stores are closed on Sundays while the restaurants remain open.

Despite that, the decision to include theaters and Sunday operations have not had an adverse affect, said City Creek General Manager Linda Wardell.

“It’s exactly what we thought it would be,” she said of the mall’s plans coming to fruition. “Clearly, success speaks for itself. Clearly, retailers are clamoring to be a part of City Creek Center.”

Open-air malls have been growing in popularity, said Fred Bruning, CEO of El Secondo, Calif.-based CenterCal Properties, which owns and operates Station Park, partly because they can offer new entertainment options enclosed malls can’t. They also can be less expensive to operate with lower utility costs in heating and air conditioning.