Joshua Israel's Commentary

Posted January 13, 2011 (user submitted October 5, 2008)

Trolley Square, a mall just blocks from Temple Square and the state capitol, began as a trolley car barn in 1908 and evolved into a shopping mall in the 1970s. Designated a historic site by the state of Utah in 1973 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996, Trolley Square was for many years one of the valley's most popular shopping destinations--and the city's second-most-visted tourist attraction.

With an Old Spaghetti Factory, art stores, a salt water taffy vendor, a movie theatre, and numerous major chains (a Hard Rock Cafe, a Banana Republic, a Restoration Hardware, a Pottery Barn, and a Williams Sonoma) amongst its many longstanding tenants, the 226,092 foot shopping center was 86% occupied when it was purchased by ScanlanKemperBard Companies, LLC in 2006. At that time, SKB began a massive renovation and reconstruction, aimed at adding an "anchor-tenant building" and 150 residential condominiums.

The renovation -- coupled with a nationally-reported February 12, 2007 shooting spree that left five shoppers dead -- lead to the closing of many stores. Tenants including Find the Next Big Thing, Studio V2, Sparky's, Gap for Kids, and several local art shops departed between November 2006 and April 2007.

At present, the mall remains under renovation, with nearly as much space walled off with "Changes Happening" signs as occupied by stores.

Whether the renovation's completion will bring back occupants--and life--to this dying mall remains to be seen.

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