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SALT LAKE CITY — After years of anticipation, Salt Lake City's newest crown jewel of shopping and economic development opened in March, and that is one of KSL TV's top stories of 2012.
City Creek Center is enjoying great success as the only regional shopping center to open in 2012 in North America — and the first enclosed center built in the U.S. since 2006.
Eager shoppers lined the plazas as City Creek Center opened March 22nd, and shoppers love this $1.5 billion version featuring around 100 shops.
"There's a variety of ambiance around the facility where there's some fun for the kids," said Jennifer Hanni, who was shopping at City Creek. "I think it's great when they have bands going on."
A new picture perfect vibe downtown:
"If you stop and think about this, over the last 150 years, this is about the third of fourth time Salt Lake has been reincarnated," Bishop H. David Burton with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said.
Nordstom reopened, but a third of the shops are new to Utah: stores like Brooks Brothers, BCBG, Hugo Boss, Rolex, Tiffany & Co, Michael Kors and Coach. Within 7 months, City Creek Center reached 98-percent occupancy, and downtown sales tax revenue rose 21 percent in the first quarter it was open.
"The quality of this development exceeds anything we have seen in Salt Lake City and probably very seldom is equal to anything in the world," Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said.
By the time Black Friday arrived, some shoppers called it an escape from the typical experience.
Managers at City Creek said their stores draw the crowds, but many shoppers enjoyed other stores downtown, too.
"We're very excited about that, because we've said all through construction of City Creek Center that we were going to be the rising tide that lifted all boats," general manager Linda Wardell said.
This season, City Creek is creating its own holiday traditions: a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree, wrapped in more than 12,000 lights, and 4 giant wreaths that weigh 1,500 pounds each.
City leaders believe the mall will be an economic driver downtown for years to come.