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Vision for The Gateway’s future focuses on entertainment over shopping

SALT LAKE CITY -- Brandi Allen used to come to The Gateway all the time as a teenager.

"I mean this was the mall to go to for sure, and now it's falling apart kind of," Allen said.

However, when she came back Thursday with her kids, she was pretty disappointed and she's not alone. Brianne Ewell remembers coming to The Gateway in high school.

"I’m from Draper and so it was kind of like the cool place, like, 'Ooh were going up to The Gateway,'" Ewell said.

Many blame City Creek Center, saying The Gateway just can't compete. But the new marketing director, Edie Trott, says they're not trying to.

"City Creek is really good at retail," Trott said. "I shop there, you know, but we are providing a different type of environment through being an entertainment district."

The new vision for The Gateway is to be an entertainment destination with restaurants, bars, and places to hang out. Some aspects of that vision are already coming to life.

With free seating, Wi-Fi, and games, the break room was created to accommodate the food trucks that have been parking outside by the fountain for the last couple of months on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But starting March 20, they’ll be out five days a week.

"We're starting up an event series on April 2nd called Gospel Brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays," Trott said. "We're holding it in the grand hall. It's a ticketed event, but there will be food, a bloody Mary bar, beer, entertainment."

Some of the physical changes are already underway, too. The plan is to put in astro-turf and seating all around the fountain and on the stairs.

Shoppers like Merissa Homer seem to be welcoming the new vision with open arms.

"I think it's really smart to fill something that Salt Lake doesn’t have," Homer said. "There really isn’t an entertainment district."

"Obviously City Creek has taken over the whole mall thing down here, so I think to make this a little bit different and more into the entertainment stuff would actually make a lot of revenue for this place," Allen said.

Trott says we'll be seeing a lot of the physical changes by July, and there are already some big names that have signed leases at The Gateway that will be announced in the next few months.