I don’t agree with critics who say the Mormon Church should have used the one or two billion dollars spent on the City Creek Mall to aid the poor. While I do think the Church should use more of its resources to aid the needy, I think the Church’s tax-paying business entities have a right to make investments where they will get a good return. Unfortunately, City Creek Mall may not do that for them.
I dislike shopping for anything except food, books, and plants, so I’ve only made one trip to the mall. On a summer day, I found many people in the mall, but none were carrying bags from any of the stores. Apparently, my friends and I were not the only people looking instead of buying. While the food court was filled at lunch time with workers from the downtown office buildings, fast food places cannot sustain City Creek.
Recently, my friend, Ruth, took an out-of-state visitor, who is in property management, to City Creek for dinner at Kneaders. The mall was virtually empty. “Whoever built this mall did not do their homework,” the visitor said. “There is nothing here to bring people downtown. Nobody comes home from work nowadays and decides to go downtown and shop. People shop online and have items delivered to their doorstep. People will go downtown for entertainment—for theaters, nice restaurants, clubs—but there is none of that here.”
Essentially, City Creek was designed to appeal to upper-middle-income-Mormons (UMIMs) who appreciate family-friendly restaurants without liquor licenses and can afford high-end shopping. I’m not sure the city has enough UMIMs to keep City Center afloat.
I do hope the management can find a way to make City Creek profitable. A mall of closed stores will do nothing for the city’s image or tax base.