New owners look to revamp struggling Gateway Mall

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SALT LAKE CITY – After years of financial struggle, the Gateway Mall has a new owner.

A Phoenix based company, Vestar, says in the next 60 days, people will start to see some noticeable changes including a dress code for shoppers.

Kiersten Ramirez makes a regular stop to the Gateway Mall with her 2-year-old son, Samuel.

“He loves the water fountain so in the summer time we come and play in the water and in the winter we still like to come out and watch it,” Ramirez said.

Since opening almost 15 years ago, the crowds at Gateway have died out, and dozens of retailers have vacated; many finding a new home at the City Creek Center just a few blocks away.

“We’ve been sad to see so many stores closing,” Ramirez said.

Changes are coming to the struggling shopping center. Retail Properties of America sold Gateway to Vestar. The company is known for buying and transforming properties in the western U.S.

“We are going to be investing $30 million in rebranding, and revitalizing the Gateway Center,” said Denise Hart, VP of Marketing for Vestar.

Hart said Gateway will soon become a hub for not only shopping, but entertainment.

“We’re going to be encompassing a full marketing campaign, which includes adding a lot more events, entertainment, concerts and community gatherings,” Hart said.

A significant change for shoppers will be a dress code.

Hart won’t say why or what the dress code will be, but she did say they’re stepping up security, taking out pay phones and smoking will not be allowed.

This could be in response to why shoppers are staying away – traffic from a nearby homeless shelter and an increase in crime.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a deterrent, but there definitely is a presence here,” Ramirez said.

Within the next 60 days, the new owners hope a much needed makeover will bring back shoppers and entice new ones.

“We’re hoping businesses will come back. We’ll see new stores and new restaurants and places to bring the family,” Ramirez said.

Utah’s sound economy is a big plus for the new owners. Perhaps, their biggest challenge will be competing with City Creek Center. Although they don’t consider them competition.

“We’re an outdoor lifestyle entertainment destination,” Hart said. “We’re going to make the Gateway even more of an entertainment destination and offer something totally different then City Creek does so that we both have a place in the city of Salt Lake.”

20 comments

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  • Tiffany

    Well I will not be doing business at the gate way mall.who wants to have to deal with a dress code for going shopping. I want to wear whatever I want to shop. I.can understand if it’s inside a building,smoking is illegal no to smoking at all on the property. Is stupid. .smoker’s have the right to smoke without companies forcing their’s views on us that smoke that to me is unworthy for me to doing any business at gateway at all

  • RC

    A Dress Code? Really? How PREJUDICED. The homeless in that god-awful shelter are kicked out every morning at 7 am, with no place to go (and NOT fed either).

    INSTEAD of treating them like animals, why don’t you open a warm space for them with couches and a coffee pot with ONE security guard. It would cost you WAY less.

  • Eric Thurber

    Sounds like the Gateway is boomed!!! no smoking (for a outdoor mall) and a dress code sounds more like Temple Square than a mall were they want (or don’t want) people to hang out. Their are NO stores left; all empty store fronts, last time we went there for a movie people from out of town were asking us if the mall was even open! Good Luck! I think I will go shop online now.

  • neil

    Yay! For no smoking! I don’t want nor want my kids to smell that cancer killing awful smoke! I’m actually looking forward to the changes. I’m glad someone bought the mall and making a comeback!

  • Finny Wiggen

    “including a dress code for shoppers.”

    Okay… Maybe some people might potentially, possibly, perhaps… like that…?
    I am a middle aged father of seven. I am sure I already fit the dress code…
    But I won’t be stopping in anywhere that feels inclined to control what I wear, regardless.

    I respect others who feel differently, but man. That just strikes me as “no soup for you!!”

      • FinnyWiggen

        I honesty don’t care what the dressing code is. It is the principle of it that I find offensive.

        I am not buying soup from someone who tells me how to stand in line, and I am not shopping somewhere that tells me how to dress.

        I am just not!! As the owners, they are entitled to micromanage the lives of their customers… And I am equally entitled to go a few blocks down the road where city creek will leave my dressing choices to me.

      • bob

        I’m sure they’ll miss all that money you’ve been spending there.

        Oh, wait…..you haven’t been spending any money there. Which is why they are going under.

        I’m sure they’ll happily trade the money you’re NOT spending for millions that other people MIGHT spend if the place isn’t a cesspool. You will not be missed.

  • Bret

    We quit going because of the drug deals right out in the open, the berating we received from panhandlers, and the lack of any meaningful maintenance on the mall. Fix those three things, save your $30 Million, and we’ll be back!

  • bob

    Their chief competitor is the man built by the LDS Church, and they have . . . wait for it . . . A DRESS CODE.

    Clearly a dress code is not the kiss of death.

    But a mall swarming with panhandlers and drug dealers is. The Gateway is not within walking distance of wealthy residential areas. They must depend on people with money DRIVING there. In order for that to work they must provide an atmosphere that is attractive to people who drive in from the suburbs.

    This isn’t rocket science.

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