By Lesley Mitchell
Salt Lake Tribune

City Creek Center Hard HatWith features such as two 18-foot waterfalls, fountains for water and fire shows, a trout pond and massive retractable roofs, Taubman Centers is striving for a "wow" factor at its City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City.

The shopping center owner and operator provided the first public glimpse Tuesday of the 700,000-square-foot property, which is under construction and scheduled to open March 22, 2012.

"We’re really trying to create the unexpected," said Ron Loch, vice president of planning and design for Taubman.

The center, anchored by Nordstrom and Macy’s, will have an estimated 80 specialty stores and restaurants, including Tiffany & Co., Coach, Michael Kors and Cheesecake Factory. It’s the only major mall of its size that’s scheduled to open next year.

City Creek Center is bounded by State Street and West Temple and North Temple and South Temple. A sky bridge connects the two halves of the center over Main Street, and a stream that’s a re-creation of City Creek runs through much of the property.

The center doesn’t have the appearance of a traditional shopping mall, featuring instead extensive amounts of stone work, trees and native plants and grasses that are designed to help the creek environment look authentic.

Taubman, a prominent mall owner and developer, is building the mall in partnership with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is constructing the overall City Creek development that spans two city blocks and also includes offices, condominiums and apartments. Adjacent to the City Creek development will be a Harmon’s grocery store that’s set to open in spring 2012.

City Creek Center general manager Linda Wardell said Tuesday that the center is firmly on schedule for its debut next spring. The food court is open, as is Deseret Book and Blue Lemon eatery. Most of the common areas and features are complete, such the sky bridge over Main Street, the creek that winds its way through the mall and retractable roofs on either side of Main Street that open and close in less than five minutes based on the weather to create a climate-controlled environment.

Two dozen tenants are building out their interior spaces. They include Yankee Candle Co., children’s apparel retailer 77kids by American Eagle, fashion retailer Brooks Brothers/Brooks Brothers Women, apparel chain The Limited, skincare and cosmetics companies L’OCCITANE and LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, and jewelers Swarovski and Pandora.

Locations for two restaurants —Texas de Brazil Churrascaria, a steakhouse that will open its first restaurant in Utah and Cheesecake Factory, which will open its second —are under way, as well.

Although the mall is designed to cater to Utahns, including those who work and live downtown, the property also expects to attract many tourists because of its proximity to the Salt Lake City Temple and Salt Palace convention center. To that end, the mall will feature a customer service booth that enables travelers to check on the status of their flights out of Salt Lake City International Airport and the weather in their destination cities. It also will offer lodging and shopping packages and special promotions aimed at out-of-state visitors.