University Mall upgrades aim to compete with high-end malls

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Shoppers walk around University Mall. Many students enjoy taking day trips to Salt Lake to shop at higher-end malls like City Creek, but new renovations may make shoppers stay local. (Universe Archives)

The gap between the best and worst performing malls continues to grow, and Utah is no exception.The higher-end malls are sometimes 30 or more miles from Provo, frustrating some students who travel far for J.Crew, Nordstrom and Anthropologie. 

Utah’s higher-end malls tend to be located in or near Salt Lake City. These include City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake, and Fashion Place mall in Murray.

“I prefer shopping at City Creek because of the ambiance and the experience. It’s worth the drive for me,” BYU student Hayden Young said. “I don’t really like to shop at University Mall at all.”

Also competing against Provo malls is Lehi’s Outlets at Traverse Mountain.

“I love to shop at the Outlets at Traverse Mountain,” UVU student Haley Richards said. “There’s a ton of variety. I like the outdoor atmosphere. It’s an outlet, so there are always great prices.”

As the gap between the best and worst performing malls grows, some have renovated and upgraded.

In 2013, Woodbury Cooperation announced a $500 million project to upgrade University Mall. There have also been updates within the mall itself. University Mall will offer 140 specialty retail shops and a collection of eateries that include seven sit-down restaurants, 10 food court options and five quick casual eateries, according to Woodbury Corporations.

In addition, the University Place shopping center under development around the mall will include a park, office buildings in a Grand Plaza and two office towers on the corner of State and University Parkway.

Perhaps more people will shop at University Mall instead of driving to City Creek Center once the development is completed. But as of now, students don’t seem mind the travel for higher fashion. 

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