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Shelley Osterloh reporting A couple of years ago Mayor Anderson was adamant that Nordstrom stay at Main Street. And you recall, the city even placed size restrictions on stores built at the Gateway so the big retailers couldn't leave the downtwon malls and build there.
The Mayor says things have changed.
Nordstrom says it has been trying to negotiate with Crossroads owners for more than a decade. The high end fashion retailer doesn't like the mix of stores or the parking situation.
But last summer, the mayor said a move to Gateway was out of the question.
Rocky Anderson, Mayor of Salt Lake City, July 2002: "I SIMPLY DON'T THINK THE CITY IS IN ANY POSITION ETHICALLY OR OTHERWISE TO SAY THAT WE'RE GOING TO WALK AWAY FROM THOSE AGREEMENTS THAT WERE MADE WHEN THE GATEWAY PROJECT WAS FIRST APPROVED."
Now the Mayor admits he has changed his mind, he says because the situation changed. The current owners of the mall failed to negotiate or even make a realistic offer to Nordstrom.
Rocky Anderson, Mayor of Salt Lake City: "AS A CITY WE ARE WILLING TO HELP IN ANY WAY WE CAN TO HELP KEEP NORDSTROM ON MAIN STREET. BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY IF THERE ISN'T A VIABLE OPTION FOR THEM ON MAIN STREET, I THINK WE WOULD BE CRAZY TO SAY 'YOU JUST NEED TO LEAVE OUR CITY.'"
Last week the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it will buy Crossroads Mall and consider many options to redevelop it, including mixed use of residential and commercial, and dividing the large block into smaller blocks.
The Mayor is confident the Church has the vision, commitment and resources to redevelop the area. He envisions a thriving downtown community less dependent on big retail.
Rocky Anderson, Mayor of Salt Lake City: "BUILDING IT UP INTO MORE LIKE THE GAS LAMP DISTRICT IN SAN DIEGO, WHERE IS A VERY CHARMING PLACE WITH A LOT OF LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESSES ADDING TO THE IDENTITY OF THE CHARM, AND NOT SO MUCH DEPENDENCE ON THE BIG NATIONAL CHAIN STORES, AND BIG ANCHOR RETAILERS."
The Mayor says he hopes the city council will hold off making any decisions for a month or so to give the church time to make a pitch to Nordstrom.
But a spokeman for Nordstrom says, she doubts anything will come of it because the retailer does not want to stay on Main Street during re-construction of Crossroads.
Nordstrom hopes to break ground at the Gateway this summer and move in 2005 when its lease is up.