Downtown Salt Lake City has been undergoing a lengthy renaissance of sorts, with City Creek Center and a lot of new businesses and offices being among the most recent phases. However, it could be argued that these changes began prior to the Olympics i8n 2002, and one of the most important parts of this was The Gateway.
A fitting name for a multi-use complex which marks the western side of the downtown core, which most travelers to Salt Lake City see first, The Gateway cleverly integrates older structures into its design. Chief among these is the old Union Pacific Railroad terminal, preserved as an entrance hall along 400 West and anchoring the mall by use of a signature building. The terminal maintains original signage and elements, in keeping with the times, design, and architecture in the surrounding neighborhood.
Since the Olympics were to be a large part of The Gateway in its early years, there are a multitude of elements throughout the complex which speak to the heritage and function of the Games. This includes the Olympic Legacy Plaza, which memorializes the efforts put into the Games. The Gateway also held certain events during the Games.
The Gateway is currently home to a multitude of stores and shops, including a Larry H. Miller Megaplex movie theatre, one of the largest centrally-located movie theatres in Salt Lake City. Each of these is accessible from outdoor walkways, escalators, and elevators. It’s an outdoor mall on purpose, providing exposure to the natural elements across two levels of its structure with lots of natural stone, an outdoor fireplace, and properly-covered portions so that the electrical parts stay dry. Outside of all of the shops and restaurants, the residential portions of The Gateway offer a variety of housing to residents wishing to live in a mixed-use area.
With the myriad of shops and options available, The Gateway has a multi-story underground garage with electric vehicle charging points, parking validation, and clear signage to different parts of the mall. It’s large enough that parking in the right areas in important, since The Gateway stretches across several blocks and there are two sets of parking garage entrances.
In the not-too-distant past, The Gateway has been known for the following: vagrancy, declining and closed businesses, relocations of key stores, broken escalators, a confusing parking garage, a large presence of the homeless and drug users, poor maintenance, and low foot traffic. Nobody has wanted to come here, and online reviews of the facility plummeted. However, this is starting to change.
As it is now under new management, anybody who visits The Gateway is witness to a multitude of changes. Entering the parking garage alone is a completely new experience. Gone are the odd colors and categories, confusing directions, and poor lighting. These have been replaced with clear signage and a bright white scheme. Escalators are being overhauled, elevators are being upgraded, tile floors are being redone and resurfaced, lighting is being updated…it’s all changing. The results are starting to roll in, with The Gateway showing new signs of life and turning around, no longer being just the dying mall on the western side.
In spite of all of the changes and its prior decline, The Gateway remains an important part of downtown Salt Lake City. Easily accessible from TRAX and the freeway and across the street from the Vivint Smart Home Arena, The Gateway is a facility of hope and dreams, showing how business changes are indeed possible.