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Church Lobbies Against Nordstrom Move to Gateway

Church Lobbies Against Nordstrom Move to Gateway

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is lobbying city officials to not allow Nordstrom to move from downtown Main Street to The Gateway commercial development.

In a press release and letter to the Planning Commission Thursday, attorney Alan Sullivan, representing Property Reserve Inc., a real estate investment arm of the church, said the city should hold to its ordinances and not allow Nordstrom to move to The Gateway project.

The church owns ZCMI Center and is buying Nordstrom's current home, Crossroads Plaza mall, both on Main Street, and plans a major overhaul of the two shopping centers.

The church press release said "national retail consultants" for the mall makeovers suggest that dividing the city's major department store locations would injure the city's economic health.

Gateway's developer, the Boyer Co., has asked the city rezone The Gateway project to allow for department stores. That petition will be before the Planning Commission Wednesday.

Jake Boyer said that if the city takes Sullivan's advice, Nordstrom will leave town and the city will lose future sales tax revenues.

"The thing that's most disturbing about this (letter) is that the church not only wants Nordstrom to leave the city, but in addition to that, they don't want us to have any anchors," Boyer said. "We feel like (not having any anchor stores) is unreasonable to ask of us when we've invested $300 million in an old rail yard."

Boyer's zoning request to the Planning Commission is for a Target store but would also allow for other department stores, like Nordstrom.

If the city won't allow anchor stores at The Gateway, the project should not have been built, Boyer said.

"If we would have known that before we started developing this property, we never would have started developing this property," Boyer said.

Kem Gardner, president of the Boyer Co., said if Target is prevented from opening at The Gateway, it might stay out of Salt Lake City altogether. He said it won't open on Main Street. "We want them to be successful, we want them to have a nice project. Why are they declaring war on us, saying we can't have anything, we can't have any anchors?"

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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