South Main Street and East 100 South
Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City's original downtown shopping mall was built on a 10 acre block located directly south of Temple Square. ZCMI CENTER was developed by the Zion Securities Corporation, under the auspices of the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints (the LDS Church) and was designed by Gruen Associates of Los Angeles, California.

ZCMI CENTER encompassed 508,800 leasable square feet and, when fully leased, featured sixty-three stores and services. It was connected to a 2-level Parking Plaza situated on top of its two retail levels. The shopping hub was adjacent to the 18-story Kennecott Tower, which had been completed in 1965.

Joseph Magnin, the first operational ZCMI CENTER store, opened its doors July 17, 1975, with the mall being officially dedicated August 1st. Charter tenants included Nobby Shops ladies' wear, Lane Bryant ladies' wear, Deseret Book, Walgreen Drug, Copper Rivet Jeans and GNC.

The original Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution -or ZCMI- department store had opened for business April 1, 1876. When work got underway on ZCMI CENTER, in July 1973, the store's cast iron facade was removed, with the rest of the building being demolished. The facade was restored and installed on the front of a new 3-level (304,000 square foot) ZCMI, which made its debut on September 13, 1976.

At the time of its completion, ZCMI CENTER was the largest inner city shopping mall in the United States. The 50 million dollar complex proved so successful that a second downtown shopping mall was built on the city block directly to the west (across South Main Street).

The 100 million dollar CROSSROADS PLAZA was designed by Stephen T. Baird and was developed by a joint venture of Gaithersburg, Maryland's Sidney W. Foulger, Salt Lake City's Jack Okland and the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States.

CROSSROADS PLAZA encompassed 925,000 leasable square feet and featured an 8-level parking structure and 20-story Commercial Securities Bank Tower. The fully-enclosed, 4-level shopping center opened August 2, 1980. It was anchored by a 3-level (180,000 square foot), Sacramento-based Weinstock's and 3-level (140,000 square foot) Nordstrom (at the time the third-largest store in the chain).

Among the one hundred and thirty-seven stores and services were Jean Nicole ladies' wear, Chess King, Radio Shack and the Richards Street Marketplace Food Court. The Plitt Theatres Crossroads 3 Cinemas showed its first features June 20, 1980.

ZCMI CENTER, was given a face lift in 1991. A Food Court was created in existing space, Center Court was remodeled and new flooring installed throughout the complex.

The first anchor nameplate change at either of the center city shopping hubs was done  at CROSSROADS PLAZA. Weinstock's was shuttered December 20, 1992, with Mervyn's opening in the space in August 1993. The second rebranding took place at ZCMI CENTER. The ZCMI store re-opened as a Portland-based Meier & Frank April 18, 2001. The third -and final- rebranding involved the conversion of Meier & Frank into a Macy's, on September 9, 2006.

Acrimonious retail rivals for several years, ZCMI CENTER and CROSSROADS PLAZA made a truce, of sorts, in the late 1990s and began to be marketed as a single entity; the DOWNTOWN MALLS. This could have been a fortuitous move. A major commercial competitor, GATEWAY CENTER {.5 mile west}, was to enter the picture in November 2001.

By this time, the two older malls had passed their prime. What few stores that were still in operation were mostly mom & pop-type tenants. A major redevelopment was conceived. As a prerequisite, the LDS Church had purchased CROSSROADS PLAZA in September 2003.

By October 2006, concrete plans for CITY CREEK CENTER had been made public. The project would be developed by a joint venture of Property Reserve Incorporated (a subsidiary of the LDS Church) and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan-based Taubman Centers.

The New Urbanism-style mixed-use facility was to be open-air in configuration. There would be 6 acres of green space, tree-lined walkways, a winding creek, three hundred residential units and over 500,000 square feet of retail. This would all be built over a large, underground parking structure, with connections to previously-existing -and newly-built- office towers.

Mervyn's at CROSSROADS PLAZA closed, along with all Utah stores, in March 2006. The mall's two remaining inline stores, Mariposa Clothing and Ypsilon, were out of business by December 2006. Nordstrom went dark January 20, 2007.

Macy's at ZCMI CENTER was shuttered February 3rd, 2007. The circa-1876 cast iron facade of the ZCMI store would be restored, as it had been during the mid-1970s construction of ZCMI CENTER. Meanwhile, the final inline stores in operation at ZCMI CENTER, Mr. Mac men's wear and Deseret Book, closed.

Demolition began at the northwest corner of CROSSROADS PLAZA in late 2006. By mid-2007, the wrecking ball was tearing away at ZCMI CENTER. In January 2007, it had been announced that Dillard's would be a third anchor of CITY CREEK CENTER. Eventually, the Arklansas-based retailer pulled out of the project.

The underground parking garage at CITY CREEK CENTER was completed in June 2011, with an official grand opening of the 1.5 billion dollar complex held March 22, 2012. The 136-year-old cast iron ZCMI facade had been installed on the front of a new 3-level (150,000 square foot) Macy's. A 2-level (124,000 square foot) Nordstrom also anchored the shopping hub.

Charter tenants included Forever 21, Footlocker, Lush, Express, Yankee Candle Company, 77 Kids by American Eagle, Michael Kors, Cotton On, Love Culture, Tiffany & Company, Pandora and Cheesecake Factory.


The Deseret News
The Salt Lake City Tribune
Scott P. /"BigMallRat"
www.zcs.com (Zion Securities Corporation)
"ZCMI Center Mall" and "City Creek Center" articles on Wikipedia