Thursday, March 22, 2012

City Creek Opens

It takes a market.

You have to admire the faith in markets to build the largest retail commercial complex to open in the United States this year in the midst of the worse economic crisis since the Great Depression. There must have been some inspiration to have plans in place and build while the economy was down, saving costs while pumping money into the local construction industry and connected businesses. And now the successful opening comes just as our slow recovery climbs into a brighter Spring.

It sure is a bright place at City Creek!

Presiding Bishop H. David Burton walked by and I resisted the urge to introduce myself as his cousin's son-in-law. He sure looked happy. There were huge crowds. And the place is very impressive.

There were some odd connections like the new Mr. Mac in relatively the same geo-spatial location as it had in the old ZCMI Mall. It's like those strange connections in dreams where you recognize a location in disjointed memory but some of the details aren't quite right. And there was another deja vu stepping through the recreated ZCMI façade on Main Street and down a couple of steps into Macy's. It was just like the old, brief incarnation of Macy's that I think took over from ZCMI. But looking south out to where it used to open to the mall there was an expansive, open, retail area with a rather attractive, if fake, little creek running through it. My friend who was with me lamented the loss of the old ZCMI chandelier.

I'm not a big shopper. I can't remember ever buying anything at Nordstrom's and I'm not sure I ever will. I can guarantee you I don't have any interest in ever shopping at Tiffany's - Macy's, sure. I bought some shoes at Macy's in San Francisco a couple of years ago even if that was sort of a nostalgic homage to my aunt who used to work there at Union Square in the early Seventies. Macy's had the coolest toy department in those days - the closest thing I've seen recently, and actually surpassing, was the toy department at Harrod's in London. (My wife witnessed my near hyperventilation.) City Creek has a Disney Store, but I didn't want to wait in line today to get in. I do have grandkids as an excuse. (But I think I'd still go in there even if I didn't.)

I like nice retail even if I never buy much. It is nice to know it's there if I ever needed it. Once, in the early days in my career in D.C., I ripped out the seat of my pants at work. It was good that Garfinckel's was just a few blocks away. I even bought my wife a couple of nice things there back in those days.

There's a lot I don't understand about some of the fancy people I saw today. Some representatives are in the video clip above. Maybe City Creek is the fusion between California - or at least Park City - and Temple Square. Costly apparel is supposed to be a problem. But a vibrant economic center next to a Temple makes more sense than squalid urban decay. Working in downtown Salt Lake City has been rather depressing the past few years.

The new Harmon's with its variety of quality foods is the greatest blessing. Now we have a nice grocery right across the street when we haven't had any more than vending machines in our federal building to get a snack or a lunch-time meal. Going into that store for the first time a few weeks ago I felt like one of those Cold-War refugees from Eastern Europe shocked by the luxuries of Western supermarkets.

I can still choose the Temple over Tiffany's. But it is nice to know there's a Macy's handy if I need a new suit for a family wedding - or rip my pants at work.

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