New owners triple Gateway investment, promise a new vision

SALT LAKE CITY — It used to be THE place to be in downtown Salt Lake City, and its new owners say The Gateway is coming back. Soon.

Vestar Corporation bought the Gateway Mall in February, and has since invested $30 million in deferred maintenance: repainting, fixing escalators, improving lighting and updating security.

Now comes the fun stuff, according to Jenny Cushing, Vestar's Vice President of Leasing.

"We came to the resounding conclusion that there is a market here that is incredibly underserved," said Cushing.

Vestar plans to put another $70 million or more into the property, including a boutique hotel, a park, a conversion to turn the Olympic Legacy Fountain into an ice rink in the winter, and a host of new businesses.

"Our focus is to bring in trendy chef driven restaurants, national entertainment venues that are first in the state, boutique retailers that are also first to the state," said Cushing.

It's not an "If you build it they will come" philosophy, though. Cushing says Vestar's plan includes 250 days of free events a year.

"You'll have free concert series and movie series on Friday and Saturday nights, free yoga on Sunday. We'll be introducing new festivals," Cushing said.

The timeline? The new parks and new art installations next year, with new restaurants, shops and venues added for two to three years.