Over 15 years ago, Salt Lake City eagerly watched the construction of The Gateway, an open-air, mixed-use concept, a first for our market. Located between 50 North and 200 South and 400 and 500 West, this retail, residential and office complex played a large part in the city’s urban redevelopment project. Since that time the property has experienced a roller-coaster of activity.
The once “it” place for retail, dining and entertainment quickly saw a change once City Creek Center came online in 2012. This mixed-use development located half a mile away boasted luxury retail, office and residential. In the span of about three years, The Gateway experienced a substantial drop in occupancy. Attempts to stabilize and sell the asset failed until 2016, when Vestar Development Co. purchased the property from Retail Properties of America, Inc.
Vestar has a retail portfolio of around 70 properties throughout the west and is known for purchasing assets to rebrand and revitalize. Jenny Cushing, vice president – leasing with Vestar said, “The Gateway was purchased based on a multi-faceted decision. Salt Lake City’s strong economy, high in-migration, and in-demand multi-family development (especially around The Gateway), positioned the property as a challenge to be achieved.”
Upon purchasing, Vestar was quick to renovate every aspect of the property in disrepair, including parking, elevators and hardscapes. Artificial/synthetic grass was added to create a park-like atmosphere providing unique communal and sitting areas perfect for events. The most important focus was rebranding the property into to an “urban hub for events, entertainment, and best of class restaurants all focused around urban art that attracts a hip, young, cool demographic,” as stated by Andy Moffitt, leasing broker for The Gateway and broker with Mountain West.
According to Moffitt, over the past 16 months, approximately 200,000 square feet of space has been leased. The once heavy retail property will soon be home to office tenants such as Recursion Pharmaceuticals and Kiln. Co-Working space; restaurants such as MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza and SkinnyFATS Food Hall; and entertainment concepts such as Dave and Buster’s, The Clark Planetarium and Wiseguys Comedy Club. Check out the directory for a full list of tenants.
Moffitt also shared The Gateway’s new tagline, “Always On,” which is evident in the new direction. In addition to dining and entertainment tenants, the property is heavily focused on hosting public (and private) events. From Food Truck Wars to Rio Grande Concert Series, Pet Adoptions to Cultural Festivals, and so much more, The Gateway is living its ethos and brining the community together…even on Sundays. The property has around 200 events scheduled this year, check out the calendar.
Another major part of the rebrand and revitalization was the inclusion of art. Large wall murals throughout The Gateway add a whole other level of vibrancy. Moffitt noted 30-plus graphic art installations have been completed, thus the reasoning for the gray exterior paint, which serve as canvases. On the digital side, it is hard to miss the new four-sided, seamless-screen video-tower, which will be used for interactive gaming and countdown on New Year’s Eve.
Still to come is a 4-star boutique hotel on the north side of The Gateway, which should be completed in 2020. Also, an additional 100,000 square feet of LOIs for more office, restaurant, and retail concepts throughout the center are in various stages of negotiations.
The new direction of The Gateway and new hotel opens the door to many opportunities that will positively impact Utah’s economy. On the table are discussions to host the Olympics, NBA All-Stars Game and larger entertainment productions at Vivint Home Arena. The city of Salt Lake City is well-poised for great things.
As with the initial construction of The Gateway 15 years ago, we are eagerly watching current changes and those to come.