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Richard Piatt ReportingSalt Lake City's mayor is calling for more openness from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about its plans for downtown development. Right now the Church is close to finalizing plans with a large enclosed mall developer, a move Rocky Anderson says is leaving the city and its citizens out of the loop.
Keep in mind, the Church is about to spend a half a billion dollars to re-do two city blocks. What the mayor is worried about is more of the same, a different version of the malls that are already here. In fact, the Church has contracted a mall developer called Taubman Centers to draw up plans to completely re-do both Crossroads and ZCMI properties.
Other than being left out of the loop, the Mayor's major argument is that another enclosed mall is the last thing the city needs. He wants a more 'open-air' environment downtown--attractions that bring people onto the street.
Rocky Anderson, Salt Lake city Mayor: "I think authentic is the key word -- authentic downtown. Where you have a streetscape. Where you have store fronts. Where you break up the blocks."
Specific plans for downtown are not available and the Church isn't talking about possibilities, nor will it address the Mayor's concerns today. But the commitment is obvious: 500-million dollars total to renovate and re-construct.
There has been talk about re-creating some of the alley-like streets that used to break up Salt Lake City's blocks downtown. But according to the mayor, that's one of the things that's been lost in the planning process.