ZCMI Center and Crossroads Center; Salt Lake City, Utah

ZCMI Center, Salt Lake City, 1997

Downtown Salt Lake City used to have two enclosed malls located just blocks apart–the ZCMI Center and the Crossroads Center. Both were torn down a couple years ago to make room for more new downtown development, and another (outdoor) downtown mall, The Gateway, has mostly taken their place.

The ZCMI Center opened in 1975, and at the time claimed to be the largest downtown shopping mall in the United States. ZCMI Center was unique compared to most malls because it wasn’t exactly secular; the mall’s name stood for Zion’s Co-Operative Mercantile Institution, which was a department store chain owned by the Church of Latter Day Saints before being sold to the May Corporation. Popularly known as “America’s First Department Store,” ZCMI had an interesting genesis:

Under (Brigham) Young’s direct leadership, ZCMI was organized by local Mormon community and business leaders, for the purpose of selling goods as inexpensively as possible, with intent to distribute profits among the people; early on, its employees were even paid with store credit. Aptly dubbed “The People’s Store”, ZCMI was founded in 1868, and offered such items as as clothing, textiles, farming and household goods. It has been called “America’s First Department Store.”

It was announced in the fall of 2006 that ZCMI Center would be closing for redevelopment, and demolition began in the summer of 2007. The plan is to replace the mall with a new mixed-use development called City Creek Center.

ZCMI Center, Salt Lake City ZCMI Center, Salt Lake City, 1997 ZCMI Center advertisement, 1997

ZCMI Center advertisement, 1997 ZCMI Center advertisement, 1997

Crossroads Plaza; Salt Lake City, Utah, 1997

Crossroads Plaza was the other mall, located near ZCMI Center. Crossroads Plaza was a major mall and office complex anchored by Nordstrom and Mervyn’s, and opened in 1980.

Crossroads Plaza advertisement from 1997 visitors guide Crossroads Plaza advertisement from 1997 visitors guide  Crossroads Plaza; Salt Lake City, Utah, 1997
More information on downtown Salt Lake City retail here.Thanks to Jay for sending us a great set of old photos and advertisements (mostly from 1997) that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get our hands on.

47 Responses to “ZCMI Center and Crossroads Center; Salt Lake City, Utah”

  1. Someone please explain this to me. For the life of me, I just cannot understand what the big “ta-da” is about these “lifestyle centers” that are replacing enclosed malls everywhere. It seems to me that they just tear off the roof and turn the mall inside out so that the stores now face the outside, and you have the inconvenience of having to walk outside to do your shopping. As an added bonus, you get to dodge pedestrians trying to navigate the clumsy outdoor centers. They did this to Bayshore here in Milwaukee, and while it is aesthetically pleasing, it is a pain in the neck to shop. The pictures of the original ZMCI center look very appealing. And they turned it into that outdoor thing? Damn, what a shame.

    In another decade we’ll be putting roofs back on and wondering what the heck we were thinking.

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  2. “Lifestyle centers” are infinitely annoying to me, as they replace the form of the shopping mall but not the function. The thing is, they are borne of a desire to get back to forms that functioned completely differently. I’ve heard so many people gush that Easton in Columbus, OH is so much like “downtown.” Oh, it’s outdoor! Oh, it has streets! Oh, it has fountains and benches and art shows and musicians! It’s just like old downtowns! Except that it’s controlled by one tenant, except that open lands are not public at all, except that it’s insanely expensive to afford rent there and excludes all but wealthy chains, except that nobody lives there and people need cars to get there.

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  3. By the way, there are several interesting videos on Youtube about these two malls, and their demolition. Try searching “ZCMI demolition” and they’ll pop right up.

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  4. Wow, these malls are pretty cool looking! Too bad they were demolished…yuk. This seems like one of the more prettier downtown malls in the country.

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  5. I think lifestyle centers are popular because they are cheaper to build and maintain and not to mention not having “central / common space” A/C and heating issues……. but can yield the same rents. I believe mall builders have told us we want them because they want us to have them.

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  6. “In another decade we’ll be putting roofs back on and wondering what the heck we were thinking. ”

    So true.

    @Adam, yep. And what really bugs me is the faux-small town feel that all this stuff has. Everything you described is exactly why it bugs me as these things are the very antithesis of the mythical small town they are emulating.

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  7. Except in certain outdoor malls (and I can tell you of an example) where the concourses are open-air, but the storefronts open directly out to the outdoors, creating lots of heat loss.

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  8. In the mid-80s, Crossroads Plaza was the place to be. ZCMI Center never really had anything decent. It was fairly small with the usual Utah-based retailers: ZCMI and Deseret Books. I’m sad to see both malls go, but retail changes so fast. I had heard the LDS church wanted to approve only retailers that didn’t conflict with teachings. So, no Abercrombie & Fitch and Spencer’s GIfts. It also sounds like they’ll force the new mall to close on Sundays. I’m still surprised the church let go of ZCMI to May Company. Guess profit is of a higher order.
    Scott

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  9. eech….Creepy mormon run malls………

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  10. i was in both malls a few years a go and thay were in perty bad shape then a lot of empty stores. and ther was the newer gateway center just down the street that had all the good stores. and the other way was troly sq. another downtown mall , all four could be gotten to by the streetcar system that thay have in salt lake but the two older mall just looked as if time had passed them by. i also remember reading someware it was nordstrom that wanted this redevelopment or thay were going to leave salt lakes downtown. amd things must have goten worse when mervyns closed there store so maybe this will work. aftrer all is it a lifestyle center or is it just the evelution of a big city downtown,

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  11. I actually visited these two malls back around this timeframe, and both seemed to be in reasonably good shape at the time. I was in Salt Lake again last year, and Crossroads Plaza had been pretty well demolished at the time, but ZCMI Center was still standing (I didn’t go there though.) I also noted that there were a lot of other stores in the few blocks nearby that had been closed down to make way for redevelopment.

    It should also be noted that the former Crossroads Plaza was located directly across the street from Temple Square, so the LDS church has a vested interest in keeping the area vital. If I recall, Crossroads Plaza didn’t actually close on Sundays when I was there (they didn’t open until 1PM though) but a lot of individual businesses there did. The only Blue Laws in the state of Utah are for liquor stores and car dealerships, but even so, there are a lot of businesses there that do close on Sundays. .

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  12. I’ve never seen interior shots of either of these malls before. They looked to be pretty typical, but nice. I clearly remeber the first time I saw a picture of the salvaged facade of the old ZCMI store attached to the then-new ZCMI Center. I thought it was the coolest thing ever!

    My take on the lifestyle center fad: the problems that malls are and were facing have nothing to do with the roof. It’s about outmoded locations, way too many malls, and too much reliance on apparel.

    Developers have found a easy way to claim they have a new shopping experience, the lifestyle center, and they will exploit it. When the novelty wears off, the same old problems will still be there waiting.

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  13. The church banned A&F? Did they not ban Victoria’s Secret, or was that on the hit list, too?

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  14. hm i remember going to one of those malls i was the ZCMI center but i did not know that the ZCMI was founded by the church itself

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  15. To the top two posters that are cynical and decry the “lifestyle center” and think that we’ll be roofing all of them, I think that’s utterly untrue.

    There’s a valid point about the sterile and fake nature of the lifestyle center concept. By taking the “Main Street USA” idea and applying it to retail, and in many case, a mixed-use property, you’re not really getting a downtown…or are you?

    There are many “lifestyle centers” that have, in fact, promoted and prompted a walkable lifestyle (at least in the confines of the center itself.) For example, the defacto prototype of the lifestyle center, Mizner Park in Boca Raton, not only proved to be a success in and of itself, it prompted the development and revival of downtown Boca Raton itself. Moreover, the project encouraged other municipalities in the South Florida area to create their own lifestyle centers and their own downtowns…essentially out of parking lots and sketches. These are very successful, even in car-centric, mall loving Florida.

    A more striking example of this phenomenon would be places like Bethesda Row or Downtown Silver Spring in the Greater DC area, where the lifestyle center provoked real urban design and growth. Tyson’s Corner appears to be next on the list, creating urban fabric from two huge mega-malls.

    This is important, as a well-designed lifestyle center, however fake, can actually become a center, a focal point. Consider them a fabric to create a town upon. And in 50 years, they’ll look just as authentic as the real deals. Of course, they may well be derelict and abandoned, like the Dead Malls of today and the Main Streets of yesterday…

    …but I don’t really think that the lifestyle centers are really a ‘fad.’ They are more like a half-arsed attempt to return to the way in which we traditionally conducted commerce, along streets, boulevards…around a park and gazebo. To put this another way, lifestyle centers are merely modern Main Streets. They took old blueprints and gussied them up for the next Virgin MegaStore. Considering the environment that fostered the mall in the first place (cheap oil, tons of land, lots of cash and little public/private debt,) malls, suburbia (at least as we know it today,) and what James Howard Kunstler calls the ‘drive-in utopian society’ is really the fad, the break from the norm of most of recorded history.

    In this manner, lifestyle centers can be a correction on the path, a first step back towards the way in which we used to organize ourselves. And many of them will not work, merely acting as gussied-up theme parks surrounded by parking. But for those that do, they establish a canvas, however plastic, to paint a denser, more walkable city/town/village upon.

    I was basically raised in a mall (Dadeland,) so I’m very aware of their charms. And I adore Mizner Park, a fake variant of a real street that has somehow become a real street, a real center for that city. Now, I live in Georgetown in DC. I’ve seen the historical pictures of M Street as it built up from cow paths to the buildings that are here today. And whether the stores are named “Local Joes” or “Banana Republic,” the street-level retail concept works, and has worked for at least 3000 years. To attempt to duplicate that shouldn’t be shunned. It should be celebrated and encouraged.

    Let’s say that…in 50 years or so, we’ve found a replacement for our fossil fuel based energy culture. It’s just as cheap, just as easy to transport and store, and had just as much return on the energy investment. Maybe the closed-roof mall and the private car for everybody WILL continue into the future.

    But let’s ALSO entertain the idea that whatever comes next WONT be as cheap, WONT be as easy to transport, and WONT have the same level of return on our energy investment. It’s certainly the more likely scenario, no? So, taking that into account, is it not prudent to begin to build the retail villages of tomorrow, today? Yes, many people will lament that the good old days of retail shopping in a balmly, indoor bunker are over…but at least they’ll have something smaller, something closer and something easier to power nearby, no?

    Anyway, I may be wrong. But I really dig the fake downtowns. I love the lifestyle centers. At the very least, we’ll all get outside!

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  16. First of all, Aaron, realize that in some areas of the USA, 90% of the days outside are really miserable! It’s too hot, too cold, too rainy, or what have you.

    They are not “today’s main streets” and saying that just means you swallow up whatever the developers tell you. What’s the difference between lifestyle centers and strip malls, really? And are you saying people DON’T need cars to travel to a lifestyle center? AND are counting in the fact that some open-air malls actually have mall storefronts creating a horrific energy loss effect?

    You even skillfully avoided the fact that all these lifestyle centers are owned by a single owner. If you want a downtown feeling, fix up a real downtown instead of this Disneyfied version of a downtown surrounded by parking.

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  17. Jonah,
    The argument about the weather being unpleasant kind of makes the malls-as-abberration point, no? To put this another way: if you need an indoor, heated retail environment just to function, why in the name of Hades are you living there in the first place? It reminds me of Jesse Ventura talking about how his state’s voters won’t tolerate SUV and truck regulations, because life there wouldn’t be possible. Uh, really? Nanuck, the Russians, the Slavs and more have dealt with brutal cold for thousands of years before A/C, heat and the Ford Motor Company.

    And I agree with the fixing of the real downtowns over the building of the fake downtowns. However, this only really works when an urban area hits “critical mass” of population, and can’t do anything else but restore their downtown. Using South Florida as an example again, it took 25 years and many billions of dollars to finally begin to make a dent in the downtown livability of Miami…and that only happened because all other options, from Coconut Grove to South Beach had been explored and gentrified. (There’s also some quite cruel about this process of reclaiming formerly downtrodden urban fabric, as the formerly downtrodden now have to find a new place to live whilst still being downtrodden. But that’s a whole other argument.)

    The point is this: while many people, including myself, prefer the confines of the authentic city, a great majority of Americans clearly do not. They want the suburbs, and while they may be expressing a need for a sense of place in the sprawl, they clearly don’t want to give up the ‘burbs (and in most American urban areas, why would they? The central city is a bombed-out nightmare. Inefficient as it may be, DC owes itself and its viability to having the government. This region could easily be the typical Detroit donut hole, with all the life along the perimenter.)

    You also bring up Disney as an example of what not to do, which is almost absurd, considering both the success of their theme parks and the success (and controversy) of their city, Celebration. Millions of people pay $70 a day just to gain admission to Disney’s over-the-top lifestyle centers around the world…and several thousand paid a pretty penny to buy a residence in Celebration. I’m frankly surprised that Disney isn’t more entrenched in the mall and lifestyle center business. Clearly, there’s a market for the fantasy they are selling.

    You are right, however. Many of these lifestyle centers are poorly designed, poorly located, and will neverbecome fabric. Some will, however. But many are just what they are critiqued to be: gussied-up malls surrounded by parking lot seas, owned by a single owner (like the enclosed mall prior.)

    And yet, I just went to the Apple Store in “downtown” Clarendon a couple of days ago. A former brownfield, Clarendon consists of some rehabbed old buildings, new mid-rise condos, apartments and offices…and a ‘fake downtown’ lifestyle center. Maybe the difference in this case is that its off of the Metro. Maybe it’s less an isolated ‘lifestyle center’ and more of a mixed use development, where the whole point is to cater to the people who DONT drive in Metro DC. Maybe it’s that Metro DC has hit critical mass, and is ready for this style of development. Whatever the reason, it was pleasant and populated, and it didn’t stick out from the surroundings like a thumb.

    And, in the interest of full disclosure, I used to be an ad writer and brand developer for those very same developers (although on the residential side.) And many times, more often than not, you’re right, it’s just marketing BS. So…I didn’t have to swallow it: I created it. 6.5 out of 10 times, it was not really going to be a downtown…but I have to say, I lived for the 3.5 times that it was (and made quite a bit of cash…for writing! What an awesome job.)

    Finally, if the only difference between a lifestyle center and a strip mall is “theme,” I’ll totally take theme! Heck, bring it to malls. Any Shoppingtown would totally benefit from a bit of theme!

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  18. >>Jonah,
    The argument about the weather being unpleasant kind of makes the malls-as-abberration point, no? To put this another way: if you need an indoor, heated retail environment just to function, why in the name of Hades are you living there in the first place? It reminds me of Jesse Ventura talking about how his state’s voters won’t tolerate SUV and truck regulations, because life there wouldn’t be possible. Uh, really? Nanuck, the Russians, the Slavs and more have dealt with brutal cold for thousands of years before A/C, heat and the Ford Motor Company.

    Actually, I’ve got the opposite problem…it’s just too dang hot in Texas. While the lifestyle center/strip mall is good functionally, it’s just not a place that you would want to stick around at (in a good way, buying other stuff). Americans really just like something “new”. Back in the 1970s, it was new enclosed malls and now it’s open-air! And in some areas, it really is great weather that you would prefer open-air shopping preferred to indoors. That’s why Ala Moana Center is so successful in Hawaii. But for me, I’m going to go with indoor malls…

    >>And I agree with the fixing of the real downtowns over the building of the fake downtowns. However, this only really works when an urban area hits “critical mass” of population, and can’t do anything else but restore their downtown. Using South Florida as an example again, it took 25 years and many billions of dollars to finally begin to make a dent in the downtown livability of Miami…and that only happened because all other options, from Coconut Grove to South Beach had been explored and gentrified. (There’s also some quite cruel about this process of reclaiming formerly downtrodden urban fabric, as the formerly downtrodden now have to find a new place to live whilst still being downtrodden. But that’s a whole other argument.)

    It’s all in the circle of real estate, sadly. A nice neighborhood is built, falls into disrepair, and gets revitalized. Meanwhile the “downtrodden” move on to another neighborhood.

    >>The point is this: while many people, including myself, prefer the confines of the authentic city, a great majority of Americans clearly do not. They want the suburbs, and while they may be expressing a need for a sense of place in the sprawl, they clearly don’t want to give up the ‘burbs (and in most American urban areas, why would they? The central city is a bombed-out nightmare. Inefficient as it may be, DC owes itself and its viability to having the government. This region could easily be the typical Detroit donut hole, with all the life along the perimenter.)

    The suburb issue is a topic that encompasses a whole lot that is beyond the scope of this little blog. So these “downtowns” in suburbs are not a “return to the downtown”, it’s a “return to the festival marketplace”. From Wikipedia, festival marketplaces built in the 70s and 80s in downtown areas as “studies had shown such areas were often perceived as both dirty and dangerous. In response, they developed the festival marketplace concept as a way to reverse the negative trends and attract both suburban residents and out-of-town visitors to the downtown areas.
    A typical festival marketplace would include local involvement in the creation of a safe and trendy attraction intended to serve as a major catalyst for other redevelopment. Generally, a festival marketplace offers major restaurants, specialty retail shops, and an international food court. Often, there is an exciting nightlife with music, dancing and live entertainment.” Gee, it sounds a lot like lifestyle centers, in a way, doesn’t it?

    >>You also bring up Disney as an example of what not to do, which is almost absurd, considering both the success of their theme parks and the success (and controversy) of their city, Celebration. Millions of people pay $70 a day just to gain admission to Disney’s over-the-top lifestyle centers around the world…and several thousand paid a pretty penny to buy a residence in Celebration. I’m frankly surprised that Disney isn’t more entrenched in the mall and lifestyle center business. Clearly, there’s a market for the fantasy they are selling.

    It’s one of those capitalism things: you can sell things to idiots and they can buy things, thus making you more powerful. That’s not to say everyone who goes to Disney World is an idiot, but just because it’s popular doesn’t make it the right thing. Drugs and pornography are proof of that, for instance…

    >>You are right, however. Many of these lifestyle centers are poorly designed, poorly located, and will neverbecome fabric. Some will, however. But many are just what they are critiqued to be: gussied-up malls surrounded by parking lot seas, owned by a single owner (like the enclosed mall prior.)

    Some lifestyle centers will indeed succeed, but that is only the few and far between. Eventually all these trendy lifestyle centers today (most of them) will just become empty white elephants.

    >>And yet, I just went to the Apple Store in “downtown” Clarendon a couple of days ago. A former brownfield, Clarendon consists of some rehabbed old buildings, new mid-rise condos, apartments and offices…and a ‘fake downtown’ lifestyle center. Maybe the difference in this case is that its off of the Metro. Maybe it’s less an isolated ‘lifestyle center’ and more of a mixed use development, where the whole point is to cater to the people who DONT drive in Metro DC. Maybe it’s that Metro DC has hit critical mass, and is ready for this style of development. Whatever the reason, it was pleasant and populated, and it didn’t stick out from the surroundings like a thumb.

    Sounds more like an urban redevelopment project to me rather than a lifestyle center du jour to me.

    >>And, in the interest of full disclosure, I used to be an ad writer and brand developer for those very same developers (although on the residential side.) And many times, more often than not, you’re right, it’s just marketing BS. So…I didn’t have to swallow it: I created it. 6.5 out of 10 times, it was not really going to be a downtown…but I have to say, I lived for the 3.5 times that it was (and made quite a bit of cash…for writing! What an awesome job.)

    THE TRUTH COMES OUT!

    >>Finally, if the only difference between a lifestyle center and a strip mall is “theme,” I’ll totally take theme! Heck, bring it to malls. Any Shoppingtown would totally benefit from a bit of theme!

    But that’s a problem, the “theme” is becoming pretty old. If everyone picks the same theme (old-timey downtown/European village), what’s left? If you give a facelift to a strip mall, is it a lifestyle center or a strip mall? And even enclosed malls have neat themes. Memorial City Mall in Houston or Westfield Citrus Park are essentially the “downtown feel”…but it’s enclosed!

    I’d like to hear someone else on this issue. CoryTJ? AceJay? Adam? Anybody?

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  19. —–”Actually, I’ve got the opposite problem…it’s just too dang hot in Texas. While the lifestyle center/strip mall is good functionally, it’s just not a place that you would want to stick around at (in a good way, buying other stuff). Americans really just like something “new”. Back in the 1970s, it was new enclosed malls and now it’s open-air! And in some areas, it really is great weather that you would prefer open-air shopping preferred to indoors. That’s why Ala Moana Center is so successful in Hawaii. But for me, I’m going to go with indoor malls…”—–

    So, the opposite also proves the point: how DID people, from the Indians to the Mexicans to the original Texans, ever live and breathe (and shop) without A/C? It’s amazing that civilization even occured! :)

    —–”It’s all in the circle of real estate, sadly. A nice neighborhood is built, falls into disrepair, and gets revitalized. Meanwhile the “downtrodden” move on to another neighborhood.”—–

    What’s interesting is the different build pattern left behind in the newly downtrodden suburb. For example, when Miami was a city of poor people by day and night, and a city of business people by day, the poor people could use transit, and a tight grid of streets to walk from home to store to home and back again. Move those same people to a suburb, however, and they’re confronted by the incredible, undeniable need for a car, or at the very least, a much longer walk. There’s also the very real, very true reality regarding disparate build quality between the Levittown mentality of quick and cheap, versus homes and businesses built in prior generations, which were expected to be multi-generational. Again, perhaps not really the subject of this site.

    —–”The suburb issue is a topic that encompasses a whole lot that is beyond the scope of this little blog. So these “downtowns” in suburbs are not a “return to the downtown”, it’s a “return to the festival marketplace”. From Wikipedia, festival marketplaces built in the 70s and 80s in downtown areas as “studies had shown such areas were often perceived as both dirty and dangerous. In response, they developed the festival marketplace concept as a way to reverse the negative trends and attract both suburban residents and out-of-town visitors to the downtown areas.
    A typical festival marketplace would include local involvement in the creation of a safe and trendy attraction intended to serve as a major catalyst for other redevelopment. Generally, a festival marketplace offers major restaurants, specialty retail shops, and an international food court. Often, there is an exciting nightlife with music, dancing and live entertainment.” Gee, it sounds a lot like lifestyle centers, in a way, doesn’t it?”—–

    Agreed. Point taken. For most of these lifestyle centers, it’s just a new name on the same thing. Florida embraced these with a vengeance in the 1980s.

    —–”It’s one of those capitalism things: you can sell things to idiots and they can buy things, thus making you more powerful. That’s not to say everyone who goes to Disney World is an idiot, but just because it’s popular doesn’t make it the right thing. Drugs and pornography are proof of that, for instance…”—–

    Popularity doesn’t make something right, that’s true. But it’s a huuuuuuge causal leap from “Disney theme parks” to “drugs and pornography.” Let’s take the three separately. To create an inviting, walkable and inviting environment is not a bad thing at all, and it’s not merely something that smart people inflict upon the masses to separate them from their money. Good design and architecture have been proven to to be behavioral catylists, for example. And Disney World, Disneyland and the rest are not exactly full of rides and amusements. Your typical SixFlags has double the rides. Disney creates spaces that stage the rides, spaces that people want to spend a day in, just soaking up the atmosphere, and I think that the lifestyle centers are trying to emulate that a bit. Does it detract from the business of commerce, or perhaps, drive the cost of said commerce up in a lifestyle center? Perhaps (or maybe “of course.”) But one can “purely” buy things at a Wal-Mart, not exactly the best place to spend time. To put this another way: I go to Wal-Mart to buy things. I go to Bethesda Row or Georgetown to shop.

    The drugs and porno debate ain’t really for the mall-lovers blog. But sign me up for both, please!

    —–”Some lifestyle centers will indeed succeed, but that is only the few and far between. Eventually all these trendy lifestyle centers today (most of them) will just become empty white elephants.”——

    Just like many of the malls covered in this very site, no? Perhaps the argument isn’t against or for malls/lifestyle centers, per se, but against overdevelopment and overexposure. Too much of anything is “bad.” Hey, maybe this IS the place to discuss the drugs and porno after all!

    —–”Sounds more like an urban redevelopment project to me rather than a lifestyle center du jour to me.”—–

    Nope. A lifestyle center. Perhaps it’s because of the critical mass issue, and the overarching mentality of the region. Lifestyle center begats housing begats new, fake downtown. Maybe it’s the weather! 70 degrees with a breeze!

    —–”THE TRUTH COMES OUT!”—–

    I make no apologies for my career. And nor do I sugarcoat it: propaganda is what it is, whether it’s in the service of commerce or the government. Besides, the axiom holds true: you can never underestimate the stupidity of the American Public. Practiced widely by members of the marketing wing, as well as the government, I’d imagine (witness the insane closeness in the polls for president, or record sales at Wal-Mart, the very company leading the way towards outsourced manufacturing and lowered pay service industry jobs.)

    ——”But that’s a problem, the “theme” is becoming pretty old. If everyone picks the same theme (old-timey downtown/European village), what’s left? If you give a facelift to a strip mall, is it a lifestyle center or a strip mall? And even enclosed malls have neat themes. Memorial City Mall in Houston or Westfield Citrus Park are essentially the “downtown feel”…but it’s enclosed! “—–

    The themes generally fit the locale. Florida tends to go for a Spanish theme. Greater DC has been working the old-time downtown theme. I personally like the idea of a drugs and porno theme. Maybe LA will launch one of these…or Vegas.

    Regarding the facelift, I’d venture that it depends on the strip mall. In Coral Springs, FL…they redid a strip mall to be “The Walk,” your fairly typical “downtown” themed lifestyle center. What’s remarkable is that The Walk was so successful, that it launched an actual downtown development, in a suburb with NO downtown to speak of. In effect, the lifestyle center became the backbone for an overarching development that is bringing the lifestyle itself.

    And yes, many enclosed malls have themes. I, for one, love the Mall of America’s many different ‘districts.’ Does the theme detract from the outer ‘box in a sea of parking’ misery? Not really, in my opinion.

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  20. Thanks for publishing a story on this mall. We drove the 200+ miles to the Salt Lake City metro area every year for school shopping growing up and I loved this mall (especially a small importer called Toshiko in the Crossroads. I was sad to hear the mall was demoed, though its peak had passed. I hated the new Gateway Center, I nearly broke a leg falling down icy stairs there, and the climate in Northern Utah is rather ill-suited for a mostly outdoor “lifestyle center” in my opinion. I no longer live in southern Idaho but have a lot of fond memories of the old mall.

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  21. “…and the climate in Northern Utah is rather ill-suited for a mostly outdoor “lifestyle center” in my opinion.”

    Two options:
    1. Live there and deal with the climate, as humans have done for millions of years. The Vikings, the Slavs, the Russians and the Canadians have shopped and conducted business outside, in “ill-suited” weather long before the advent of the enclosed mall.

    2. Don’t live there! If you find cold weather “ill-suited” to your lifestyle, why in the heck are you living in a place with a cold climate? That’s like hating the water and moving to Key West!

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  22. Having lived here for 32 years, these malls were apples and oranges. The ZCMI was small and had it own shoppers, the tourists that are LDS. The Crossroads Mall was the hip place, kids hung out there, got kicked out of the mall and would be out on the street near the gigantic planters. The fun and cool shops were inside the Crossroads, a huge food court and had a 33 story office building open into the food court near the east entry. When I worked for SkyWest Airlines I trained in the training center on the 12 floor.
    The Gateway is nice and airy! It is an outside meandering group of storefronts that is devoid of any character. Might as well be a strip mall in San Jose!
    Weather? It snows here in SLC, it is cold with the wind coming off the Great Salt Lake and freezing everything in it’s place during the winter. The Gateway for me is not the place I want to be after 500 PM.
    With WalMart* taking over retailing in America, I think the idea of the open mall will die faster than the grand old indoor malls of the past. Big box, low low prices and the current financial crisis will hasten the demise of this concept of the open air mall. Cheers, jack.
    BTW We have only two seasons here Winter and Junejulyauguster. jh

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  23. Having almost literally grown up in these malls, and having worked in both of them at one time or another, I was somewhat nostalgically sad but totally unsurprised of their closing. The Mormon church, who owned both properties always seemed conflicted about that much secular commerce directly adjacent to their flagship temple.

    Rather than as you stated the malls were not blocks apart, but directly faced each other across Main Street. To hop in between you only needed wade through a thicket of skate board punks and anti-Mormon pamphlet pushers and cross the street. Between the two was the a transportation depot of sorts as all downtown buses stopped at large stops in front of each mall. This facilitated I and many other kids from the suburbs to spend our weekends, and the odd ditched school day firmly planted at the mall. We could meet other friends, shop and go to the movies all without asking Mom and Dad for a ride we just hopped any downtown bus.

    The two malls were a study in religious/secular contrast. Crossroads (which is actually closer to the temple) was the more secular mall with the national chain stores, it’s key anchor for many years was Nordstrom, which brought a fair amount of cachet as well as foot traffic. Crossroads also had the better food court (which seemed to be remodeled endlessly however). And it also had a multi-screen theater, which for many years hosted the opening night of the Sundance film festival.

    Crossroads was a busy, busy place in its heyday unlike ZCMI Center which never seemed to ever really work. The major reason for this was that the ZCMI anchor store was not open on Sundays and thus the mall could never really attract any tenants that didn’t mind losing half a weekends worth of business. The mall was actually open on Sunday for some reason, but all of the key tenents were Mormon related. Mr. Mac, a sensible haberdasher and Mormon Missionary outfitter, and Deseret Book the Mormon Church’s official bookstore occupied a large part of the mall and were really the only constants. For a time there was a full post office in the mall which was convenient.

    The ZMCI department store was the other big reason the ZMCI Center never did very well. Apart from being closed Sunday, and before it was sold to the May Company and rebranded Meier & Frank and finally Macy’s, it seemed to me to grow increasingly out of touch with its customers. Although being a very large store with everything from underwear to sofas, ZCMI seemed to cater only to a certain kind of customer — almost certainly Mormon woman ‘of a certain age’ (I believe my grandmother was this woman incidentally). Their entire stock seemingly chosen for it ability to be as well made as it was benign. The best parts of ZCMI were a) the career giftwrap ladies who could wrap huge packages in seconds with whimsy AND perfect creases, and b) the annual Christmas displays in the picture windows of the iconic storefront façade which were always something to look forward to at the holidays.

    In the end I think it was as much the Mormon church’s changing vision for the area that closed the malls as it was shifts in tastes of the buying public. The first sign of this came when the church’s decided to close Main Street just north of the malls to build a park between the temple and the church offices across the street — this changed traffic flow in the area to make parking in either mall’s garage a difficult proposition.

    I have been to the Gateway a few times, and maybe it is that I now live somewhere warmer, but I found that shopping there in the winter is less than enjoyable. I like to shop and be able to feel my hands feet at the end of the trip, and shopping in a parka is cumbersome as well. I seem to remember they had some hand-warming stations, and the Starbuck’s was popular with those looking to warm up, but mostly we just shopped fast and hurried home to get warm.

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  24. These Malls especially the ZCMI Center could have used a complete remodel, but I think putting another outdoor mall in Salt Lake City is really lame. If people want to shop in the winter ther will need a parka, warm gloves, boots, probably a hood and a scarf. Sorry, but no thanks! I think it would be good to have the option to go to either The Gateway and freeze your tail off or enjoy a nice warm traditional mall. I personally think having to run from my car to the door is enough cold. I can tell you I will not shop there between October and May. And in all honestly I have lived here all my life and I have never been to the Gateway. I live about 25 miles from Downtown and we used to only go there for the holiday shopping. We liked the atmosphere during the holidays and being able to go see the lights at Temple Square then go inside the warm mall and to get hot chocolate and do some shopping. So to some it all up I may never shop there at all. Anything I could possibly need I can find closer to home anyway. I am quite dissapointed they are turning it into an outdoor shopping center.

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  25. I have really fond memories of both of these malls. I moved away several years ago and pretty much burst into tears when I was visiting SLC and saw a giant hole where my malls used to be. I know…such attachment issues!

    I loved the old ZCMI store even though I couldn’t care less about the church. The basement was the best – with it’s bakery, deli, and best of all, the candy counter. I was heartbroken when I later went to the store after it had been taken over by the May Co. and the basement had just been sealed right up, as if it never existed :-( I also loved the ZCMI windows at Christmas – especially when they were made entirely out of candy. That was pretty much the coolest thing ever.

    I remember going downtown with my Dad on Sundays to “work” in his office and we would usually head over to the food court in Crossroads for lunch. For awhile, I remember going to the lone Mexican restaurant in the ZCMI Center (I think this was before there was even a food court built there) that was actually OPEN on Sunday. It was so strange. We were literally the only people in the entire mall.

    Such good memories. I’m sure that City Creek will be nice, but nothing can replace those two malls in my mind.

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  26. When we lived in SLC, my wife managed a store at Crossroads for about five years. I thought it was very elegant mall in the early to mid 90′s to bad it’s gone and very busy. I believe it was connected to the Marriott. She had a lot of NBA players come through.

    Anybody know the latest on Cottonwood Mall? It was looking very run down when I left Utah in ’05

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    wattsup Reply:

    @Hank Stevens,

    I worked at Crossroads mall and we had NBA players all of the time. Spud Web to name one. I worked at Molly’s. What I would give to have another Molly’s open back up. Very healthy food compared to what we have now at foodcourts.
    Cottonwood Mall is completely gone. Even TGIF’s is now gone. So sad to see it all go. Don’t like shopping in the winter outside. Not fun walking from store to store in a blizzard or in 10 degree weather.

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  27. Cottonwood Mall was bulldozed a couple of years ago except for the Macy’s anchor store which still stands and is still open. It was slated to be rebuilt as a lifestyle center- style outdoor mall with a residential component but the economy tanked before construction could begin and now the whole project’s on hold.

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  28. I wish someone could post original interior shots of the ZCMI Center. That was before Crossroads was even considered.
    Remember Castleton’s, Spencer’s Gifts & Jeans West?
    There was also a record store I always went to in from of ZCMI. I would buy 8 track & 45s. ZCMI also had a record dept, in the basement. Buy records & then get some fierce cookies in the ZCMI bakery. Yumm.
    I have great memories at this mall. It was never chic, but all SLC had.

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    wattsup Reply:

    @utahkid,

    The parking lot in the ZCMI center was the best. I made my grandma drive around in circles..lol. And she used to take us to eat at the Tiffin room. Good times.

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  29. The Crossroads and ZCMI malls pretty much ruined downtown Salt Lake. They looked cool on the inside, but on the outside they were butt ugly giant pieces of concrete. They took that social fabric away from downtown and took people off the streets. In the early 1900s the streets of downtown were bustling with people shopping and working. People could walk down Main and go window shopping and thats what people did. So I’m kinda glad to see some change in downtown, hopefully the new Ciy Creek Center will promote a more social downtown environment, but only time will tell. I do, however, have good memories as a kid in the Crossroads and ZCMI malls.

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  30. [...] the new mall (that sadly, at least on Main Street, looks remarkably like the old mall(s)) but hey, its got a retractable roof and cool depression-era-looky architecture and NEW STORES. Yes [...]

  31. I miss doing the ZCMI Christmas Candy Windows. Working in the Display Dept. at ZCMI was the greatest job I ever had!

    [Reply]

    utahkid Reply:

    @Celeste, I have been looking for interior photos of ZCMI. SInce you were in display you must have some get shots. Care to share on Flickr?

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  32. What would you like?
    Flower show, mannequins, Christmas?

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    utahkid Reply:

    @Celeste, Anything with ZCMI interior. Thank you!

    gr10014@yahoo.com

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  33. Taubman To Open City Creek Center Next Month

    Salt Lake City — Taubman is opening the only regional center in the United States during 2012 on March 22. The 700,000-square-foot City Creek Center is anchored by Nordstrom and Macy’s, and features a host of innovative features. A 1,200-foot long “creek” flows through the center, with two 18-foot waterfalls en route. The center also features a retractable roof, the first in the nation in a shopping center. A 140-foot skybridge over Main Street allows shoppers to connect to shops, creating a seamless flow between two city blocks. City Creek Center’s outdoor walkways are heated to protect shoppers during wintertime. The Macy’s building at the center features the restored facade of the historic ZCMI department store, which occupied the site for many years. The center is located across the street from Temple Square of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), Utah’s most popular tourist destination.

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  34. I miss these malls but am excited to see the new city creek center. The LDS church doesn’t do anything half way.
    I used to scoop ice cream in the basement of ZCMI, I worked for Clyde Walker, not sure I ever saw him without his tall white chefs hat. The bakery had great vanilla bismarks and eclairs. The line for our $.32 double scoop ice cream cones would always go back into the toy dept during lunch.
    Then I worked in the information desk in the ZCMI mall, giftwrapping at Christmas was crazy, but it was one of the most fun jobs ever.
    I worked for Beneficial Life insurance above the mall after that where I met my wife. So I spent many years in those malls.
    I met many NBA players (Shaq, Pippen, Drexler, Robinson, Mullen etc…) There was never a dull moment.

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    Craig Reply:

    I just noticed I am actuall in the picture in ZCMI’s food court up above. I remember when they took those publicity shots.

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  35. First New Regional Mall in Six Years Opens in Salt Lake City
    by Elaine Misonzhnik March 22nd, 2012

    The retail real estate rebound has become official, with Taubman Centers Inc. opening the first new regional mall in the U.S. in six years. The City Creek Center in Utah received rave reviews from its first shoppers. You can see a video and a photo gallery of the completed center and read comments from visitors at The Salt Lake Tribune website.

    A unique project in many respects, City Creek Center is a product of a partnership between Taubman Centers and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It’s part of a redevelopment of two older properties–the ZCMI mall and the Crossroads Plaza Mall–into a 20-acre mixed-use complex also featuring office space, residential units and a hotel component.

    According to a description from Taubman Centers:

    Designed to showcase Utah’s natural beauty, the unique indoor/outdoor space features a retractable roof, a 140-foot skybridge over Main Street, a 1200-foot-long re-creation of the historic City Creek, two 18-foot waterfalls and three fountains from the creators of the famed Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas.

    Nordstrom and Macy’s anchor City Creek Center’s world-class retail offerings. Of the 100 stores and restaurants, one-third are unique to the Salt Lake City market or the state, including Tiffany & Co., Michael Kors, Coach, Tumi and Brooks Brothers/Brooks Brothers Women.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, WHAT HAPPENED I HAVENT BEEN ABLE TO GET THE COMMENTS FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS.IS THERE ANYTHING YOU HEARD LOCALLY LET ME KNOW.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, There were technical problems, check the home page.

    I need to go back & check my notes since I wasn’t able to post anything for several weeks. I’ll see you on the Nanuet page!

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  36. Saw City Creek Center today, it is very nice. Laid out of both sides of Main St, one side is Macy’s (ZCMI store) with the food court and several stores. The other side is Nordstrom’s with less stores but more upscale, Tiffany’s Rolex etc. Both sides have indoor and outdoor features. There is a skywalk over Main connecting each sides of the mall

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  37. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7K-TMiOj6C0&w=420&h=315

    A fly through of City Creek Center curtisy of Taubman Centers.

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  38. I saw this mall two times! Since Mom has family over there we took a trip from here in Oregon in 2003 and I also went once in the early 90s during my birthday in April.

    I went to the ZCMI mall both times but I remember the 2003 trip better. We went in August 2003 and Mom helped me buy Lord of The Rings 3 and we watched it at the hotel which had a DVD player. :) :)

    It was a spectacular trip. I REALLY enjoyed SLC at night.

    We found a vista point on one of the up high neighborhoods towards the Wasatch Front. I can’t remember where but it was a place you could pull over but sadly a bunch of teenagers littered the area.

    We did see several aeroplanes land on the runway at the KSLE.

    By the way. What’s up with the captchas?

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  39. I don’t like the new design of this outdoor mall. Bring back the old one!

    Since when did Utah let a bunch of environmental freaks run the state to the ground?

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  40. The new outdoor mall is ok during the warmer months but who wants to shop like today when its 20* in Utah? LOL
    It seems strange that the new Nordstrom is so small compared to the Murray, Utah location. Actually most all stores at this mall are very small. The restaurants are all chains and the fast food area is all garbage like McD, Sparro & Chick Fil Yuck. For a billion dollar mall you would think they could offer more upscale.
    SHop online )

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