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Jed Boal ReportingA major movement to reshape the core of Salt Lake City is gaining momentum. How Nordstrom, fits into the future, if at all, will be settled by the city council next week. Tonight the council heard a wide range of voices on whether it should allow the store to leave Crossroads Mall and move to the Gateway.
In the public hearing council listened as Gateway made its case and as LDS Church developers countered with their new vision for this area. But the largest contingent was dozens of Nordstrom employees, as one put it, fighting for their jobs.
It was nearly two years ago that Nordstrom first told city council business was bad at Crossroads and it wanted to move to The Gateway. Tonight the company and employees, some with decades of service, made their last pitch, asking council to let them go or lose them altogether.
Heather Kingsford, Nordstrom Employee: “It has become difficult for our employees to earn a living. We cannot survive. We cannot do business in a construction zone."
Maureen Andrews, Nordstrom Employee: “We have so many things to offer you. If we were allowed the opportunity to go to gateway, I promise you, we'd make you proud."
Current zoning at Gateway limits stores to 45-thousand square feet; the upscale department store needs nearly three-times that space. Gateway says it's a win for the city.
Jake Boyer, The Gateway: “Nordstrom is a retailer who is simply asking to stay in our city and asking to move to a location it can be most successful."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints developers unveiled their plan for downtown development yesterday, designed to include Nordstrom. If Nordstrom goes they'll find a replacement. If Nordstrom goes to Gateway the Church may scrap the retail element to its plan.
Bruce Heckman, Taubman Company: “I urge you to stick to your guns and resist the sirens song that the whole world is changing."
Allen Sullivan, LDS Church Affiliated Real Estate: “The rules should not be changed in the middle of the game to the disadvantage to all of those who could benefit from the church's investment."
Downtown business owners past and present urged the council to stick by its commitment and uphold the current zoning.
Lynne Arent, Former Business Owner: “Commitment and honor are not hostage to convenience."
B.J. Stringham, Utah Woolen Mills: “Break the promises and you will break the people, if not financially, then morally."
Several speakers urged the council to do what is best for the city. Now they have to weigh this input with months of study and debate and vote on the matter Tuesday. It’s sure to be a tough decision with a lot at stake.