City Council Weighs Gateway Zoning Change

City Council Weighs Gateway Zoning Change

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Samantha Hayes ReportingThe stakes are high for downtown Salt Lake businesses and tonight the city is closer to deciding whether Nordstrom can relocate to the Gateway. City leaders are also evaluating grants to lure -new business downtown.

If the city council doesn't make a decision on whether to change Gateway zoning, Nordstrom will make the decision for them--they'll just leave altogether.

There's a lot of coming and going on Main Street, it’s just not the kind of traffic city leaders want to see. Nordstrom is packing up and leaving its current home in the Crossroads Plaza Mall. Monday the real estate arm of the LDS Church finalized its purchase of Crossroads, and Nordstrom did not work out a new lease.

So now the city council must vote on Gateway's petition to change the zoning ordinance. A change would allow Nordstrom and other department stores to open shop there.

Rocky Anderson, Mayor of Salt Lake City: “That is the plan that we'll have a decision by mid-October, and I think that is a great thing because I know Nordstrom needs to know what they are going to do. The Gateway developers, Target, everybody is waiting for this decision to be made."

The council is also assessing the redevelopment agency's use of funding to revitalize downtown. Long established businesses on Main Street see it as money for their competition.

John T. Speros, Owner Lambs Grill Cafe: “It’s preposterous that the government should get involved in subsidizing competition to businesses that have been here."

City leaders say the grant is successful in bringing in new business, but some long time Main Street businesses, like the 90-year old Judge Café, are on their way out.

Carole Couch, Owner, Judge Café: “If somebody handed me 20-thousand dollars you wouldn't be talking to me today. I wouldn't have the problems that I am having."

The city council will meet four more times before it plans to vote on whether to change the Gateway zoning October 14th.

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