First it was the Gateway Mall, then City Creek Center in Salt Lake City; soon it will be the Outlets at Traverse Mountain in Lehi attracting Utah shoppers.
On Friday, Nov. 16, the 225,000 sq.-ft. shopping center will officially open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. followed by weekend celebrations. With fountains and glass-covered walkways, the mall is hoping to attract both Utah and Salt Lake County residents.
“Retail business in this market is really slow,” said Doug Meldrum, Lehi’s economic development director. “To have a developer come in and build a retail mall is huge.”
Craig Realty Group, located in Newport Beach, Calif., began the project about six years ago. Leasers soon took interest. Stores like J. Crew, Under Armour, Vans and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory are just a few of the 52 stores to have open doors come November 16th, according to the official website. More will follow.
After Cabela’s opened in 2005, the plot of land next to it became a prime location for a retail center, Meldrum said.
“The development around the area just sealed it, saying this is the right area for retail,” he said. “It just took a few years, and the economy slowed the process down to get this completed,”
Zach Blaszchzyk, a business major from Calgary, Alberta, believes the new shopping center will be beneficial for students because of the discounted prices. In addition, it is closer than traveling to the Tanger Outlets in Park City.
“As a guy I don’t do that much shopping,” he said. “But I’ll probably still make it up there, check it out.”
The only thing Blaszchzyk is concerned about is that like most outlet malls, Traverse is outdoors. But in preparation for chill winter nights of shopping, construction has included the installation of heated walkways.
Olivia Gallegos, a classics major from Portland, Ore., usually travels to the outlet mall in Park City when she’s searching for a good buy.
“When you go to Park City it’s a good mini-vacation,” she said. “You can go to the outlet stores, but there are just other things to do — skiing, snowboarding, classier restaurants. It’s cool because it’s kind of like Salt Lake but more low key.”
Like Blaszchzyk, Gallegos feels the trip to Park City might happen a little less frequently now that Lehi’s new business venture is about to foot.
“I would be more apt to go there as opposed to driving to Park City,” she said while explaining the perks of outlets. “It’s nice merchandise for a smaller cost, and being a college student, it’s nice to be able to buy a pair of Nike shoes where you don’t have to eat Top Ramen for the next month.”
BYU students aren’t the only ones thrilled about new bargains and shopping horizons.
According to Meldrum, the reaction of Lehi residents has been positive, even if it means an increase in traffic.
“Everybody I’ve talked to is excited. Nobody has voiced any concerns; it has all been positive,” he said.
And to facilitate any traffic combustion, Lehi has put in place two new lights. Eventually TRAX will run past the shopping center, but that is years in the future.
So, while the nation’s economy continues to struggle, things are looking up in Lehi. Meldrum hopes it will stir a chain reaction.
“I think it’s just going to spur the area and let everyone know retail is still growing. It’s going to continue to grow and help other people take the difficult leap right now and expand themselves as well,” he said.