On 12 July 1999, Cinemark USA announced construction of a 15-screen multiplex at Crossroads Plaza. The new cinema was to feature 3,000 seats, stadium seating, wall-to-wall screen, and digital sound. An IMAX 3D auditorium would have been Utah's first IMAX location. Construction of the $10 million complex was to begin Spring 2000, with a Christmas opening. The project was part of a marketwide shift toward multi-screen mega-theaters and one of several Cinemark had planned along the Wasatch Front.[1, 2]
"If we're not [targeting Utah communities], then we've missed the target,” said Randall L. Hester, Cinemark vice president of marketing and communications. “You've got a lot of families, and they're great movie-goers. But what you don't have is a lot of state-of-the-art stadium seating, digital sound theaters."
"I'm absolutely excited,” said John Gerdes, director of retail for L&B Realty Advisors Inc., the company managing Crossroads Plaza. “Crossroads has for years been focused on providing first-class shopping in Salt Lake City. This Cinemark is the first step in redefining Crossroads and the entire downtown area.”
At the time of the announcement, the location of the theater was still in the discussion stages. Loews Cineplex still operated the mall's original three-screen theater on the basement level. One option was to build the new complex on top the existing parking structure.
"I don't think parking will be a problem,” Gerdes said, “but it might be an opportunity to add some more parking in general as a part of this addition to the center. We might look at adding some additional parking, not only for the theater, but for all of downtown as well."
When Loews closed the 20-year-old Crossroads Cinemas in June 2000, citing sagging box-office sales, plans for the Cinemark theater were in “an indefinite holding pattern” while the mall and theater chain worked on outstanding “financial issues.”
The general manager of Crossroads Plaza, Dave Nielson, reported in September 2000 that plans for the IMAX-certified screen were postponed more than a year because of the proliferation of other multiplexes around the valley. "We're hoping for an August or September 2001 opening," Nielson said. "We wanted to let the dust settle.”
By 2003, Nordstrom, one of the main anchors at Crossroads, began lobbying for zonning changes that would allow the department store to move to The Gateway. Nordstrom complained of insufficient parking at Crossroads and an unacceptable tenant mix.[5, 7]
Worried about the possible demise of the Crossroads Plaza, dozens of downtown businesses placed a full-page newspaper advertisement urging against the move. The ad stated, “If Nordstrom relocates to The Gateway, it will significantly imperil the future of Main Street retail.”
On 19 March 2003, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it had reached an agreement to purchase Crossroads Plaza from Foulger Pratt. The LDS Church already owned the majority of land underneath the mall and, through its realty arm, the adjacent ZCMI Center.
Plans for City Creek Center, announced on 3 October 2006, called for the demolition of both Crossroads Plaza and ZCMI Center. The parking garage at Crossroads closed on 3 January 2007. The remaining tenants in the mall were in the final stages of terminating their leases and preparing to move or shutter their stores. Demolition was expected to begin later in the month, moving west to east on the block.
1. "Crossroads to get 15 screens", Deseret News, 13 July 1999
2. "Crossroads gains new stores", Deseret News, 23 December 1999
3. "Theater wars: Moviegoing options downtown reduced by 3", Deseret News, 23 June 2000
4. "To IMAX and beyond. . . .", Deseret News, 08 September 2000
5. "Church to buy Crossroads Plaza mall", Deseret News, 19 March 2003
6. "Downtown divided over Nordstrom", Deseret News, 14 May 2003
7. "Nordstrom will stay", Deseret News, 30 August 2004
8. "Downtown rebound: LDS Church unveils plans for 20-acre development", Deseret News, 04 October 2006
9. "Demolition approaching for Salt Lake malls", Deseret News, 04 January 2007