Break out the walking shoes. Valley Fair Mall is getting a major makeover as the second largest retail renovation in the state after City Creek Center. “It’s undergone about $30 million in construction with $20 million left to go,” says Jonny Arbuckle, general manager of the mall and VP of Satterfield Helm, the local company that owns the mall with Coventry Real Estate Advisors.
Built in 1970, the mall was one of the state's top shopping destinations, and the mall's food court, center court and south wing were given a fresh look in the late ’80s. But then big-draw stores like ZCMI and Meier & Frank closed, foot traffic dropped and owners New Plan Excel made plans to sell. As the only mall in West Valley City, Arbuckle was frustrated by locals' preference for Fashion Place and other malls.
Clearly infrastructure wasn’t the problem. So to win shoppers over, mall execs reached for the big guns. Costco opened on the property and 50,000 square feet of outbuildings were added, which house traffic drivers like Olive Garden (the top performing location for the restaurant chain in North America).
Satterfield Helm started keeping track of mall traffic after buying it in 2006. Since that time, shoppers have increased by 40 percent, thanks to a more attractive streetscape, cobblestone exterior and additions like In-N-Out Burger, Ross and Famous Footwear. As the interior of the mall is renovated this year, mall execs are courting more nationally recognized brands to mix in with mom-and-pop shops like Moda Bella boutique.
The mall's new town center features an amphitheater, fountains and an outdoor shopping experience similar to the Gateway, plus a Larry H. Miller Megaplex Theatre with 15 screens is also coming to the mall with a six-story IMAX screen set to open Nov. 1.
Renovations could account for a $50 to $70 million boom in sales this year.
Valley Fair Ups and Downs
Over the years, Valley Fair Mall has had its share of ups and downs. Here are some of the highlights (and lowlights) since local company Satterfield Helm bought the mall in 2006.
Costco opens on the mall property, kicking off renovations.
After a fight over a woman leads to a stabbing at the mall, one man is arrested while another is in stable condition.
Mervyn’s goes out of business, leaving one of the mall’s major anchors an empty shell.
50,000 square feet of outbuildings are built surrounding the mall to house chains like Olive Garden and Smashburger, along with local stores like Deseret Book.
After he’s arrested for taping a Blackberry to his foot to film up women’s skirts at the mall, 20-year-old Phuong Le complains he is short of breath in the back of a police car. When the officer exits the vehicle to check on him, Le slips out of his cuffs and into the front seat to lead police on a high-speed chase before crashing into a light pole near Rocky Mountain Raceway.
West Valley City’s TRAX line is completed, giving the mall a boost in new business with a station just across the street.
The mall’s town center opens with jet-pop fountains and an amphitheater, along with 100,000 feet of retail space anchored by Ross, Petco and Famous Footwear.
A new concourse opens between Ross and Red Robin, giving the mall an attractive west side entrance.
West Valley police shoot and kill the suspect of an armed robbery when a car chase ends under the I-215 overpass, which prominently neighbors the mall. The standoff also leaves two officers in serious condition.
Valley Fair Mall decks a 45-foot-tall Christmas tree with LED lights to create the tallest animated Christmas tree light show in the state.
The destruction of the old Mervyn’s building begins to make way for a new Megaplex Theatre.
The I-215 and 3500 South Frontage Road opens, providing easy access from I-215 directly to the mall’s parking lot.
Renovations begin on the mall's common areas, including the food court, to give a look and feel similar to the town center.