SALT LAKE CITY — Owners of The Gateway are looking to reinvent what was once a bustling shopping center into an entertainment destination.
“I love it,” said Jacklyn Briggs, The Gateway’s marketing director. “I love coming out here, sitting by the fountain eating lunch every day, going to the restaurants.”
Monday, The Gateway will celebrate the opening of Dave & Buster’s, a restaurant featuring several state of the art video games aimed at attracting children and adults.
“We’re in it for the long haul,” said Andy Oreskovich, the restaurant’s general manager.
Management is well aware of The Gateway’s recent struggles with a lack of customers, shops pulling out, and a perceived issue with the homeless population nearby.
“Years ago when they had the Olympics, this is where everybody came,” said Bob Boylan, a native of the Salt Lake City area and the restaurant’s assistant manager. “Now it’s really, people don’t come down here.”
But employees and owners of the property think the recent additions are changing that trend.
“It’s just taking off,” Briggs said. “We are an activity-based gathering space.”
Owners of the property are shifting away from the traditional shopping mall model. They believe the rise of websites like Amazon are making malls obsolete.
That’s why they are attracting business like Dave & Buster’s, adding a weekly concert series, and encouraging one-of-a-kind shops to The Gateway.
They are also making people feel safe.
“They’ve committed to 24/7 security,” Oreskovich said.
Oreskovich wants people to know the atmosphere is changing at The Gateway and there is no longer a reason for anyone to feel unsafe.
Customers are noticing a positive shift.
“I can remember in high school, I was here all the time,” said Salt Lake City resident Emme Thatcher. “It was sad to see it die.”
Emme and her husband Nate were enjoying lunch near the Olympic Fountain. They feel like they have a good reason to frequent the area.
“I love what they are trying to do with it,” Nate Thatcher said.
While many store fronts remain empty, The Gateway hopes more people like Emme and Nate notice the changes being made.
Businesses are betting that the new concept will once again create a vibrant atmosphere at The Gateway.