City Creek Reserve Inc
A real estate investment affiliate of the Church and the "Master Developer" of City Creek Center.
Property Reserve Inc
The commercial real-estate development arm of the Church.
Ensign Peak Advisors Inc
Taubman Centers Inc
For-profit, REIT and retail.
A real-estate investment trust that manages City Creek Center.
Why did the Church build a mall?
Primarily to improve downtown Salt Lake City. At the time, downtown Salt Lake was in an economic downturn and urban blight neighbored key Church properties. Church headquarters and Temple Square are in downtown Salt Lake City, so the Church has a vested interest in making it a nice place to live, work, and visit. They decided that the City Creek Center urban redevelopment project was the best way to do that.
Is that a normal thing for churches to do?
How much did it cost?
The actual cost is not public information, but most estimates are around $1.5 billion. When the Church started developing the mall, local interest groups raised another $3.5 billion to improve more of downtown.
Did tithing pay for it?
No. City Creek was privately funded, didn't use government subsidies, and didn't incur debt. The mall was developed by Church real-estate entities, City Creek Reserve and Property Reserve.
But really though? What about gains from invested tithing—wasn't there a lawsuit or a whistleblower report about that?
A whistleblower's report from former Ensign Peak Advisors employee David Nielsen[BIO] claimed tithing was spent on City Creek. That claim became the basis for a lawsuit from former member James Huntsman.[BIO] Huntsman's lawsuit was dismissed by a federal court. The judge ruled there was a difference between tithing and funds from invested tithing and found the Church committed no fraud in the funding of City Creek. 
Are gains from invested tithing sacred? Should that money be used on a mall?
Maybe. Court documents show that Ensign Peak Advisors employees consider the funds they manage to be sacred, even if used for a project like City Creek.
Couldn't the Church have used City Creek development money to feed or house people instead?
Yes, but they didn’t.
But shouldn’t they have?
Maybe? Although the Church spends a portion of its annual budget on direct humanitarian assistance as well as supporting welfare programs, some people think City Creek isn't justified by comparison.
Others think City Creek is a reasonable expenditure.
Is this an example of the Church trying to take over Salt Lake City?
Probably not. Salt Lake City Mayor (at the time) Ralph Becker (D)[BIO] said, "If the LDS Church was not so sensitive and responsive to community concerns, that could be a problem. But in my experience, at the Legislature and on the Planning Commission, the LDS Church has bent over backward to try and be responsive to community goals — and to a community vision that isn't necessarily the same as what their vision is."
Does the Church enforce standards like modest dress at the mall?
Can you buy coffee, alcohol, or tobacco in the mall?
Isn’t that hypocritical?
Possibly. Mall vendors sell to the Salt Lake City public—the majority of whom are not members of the Church. Also, Taubman Center, a non-LDS private corporation "owns and operates the retail components of City Creek."
Is the mall closed on Sunday?
What’s the mall like?
City Creek Center is 23 acres of shopping, dining, and residences. There’s a huge retractable glass roof, a skybridge across Main Street, lots of greenery, art, a fountain with fire and water, and an artificial river with fish in it.
Does the Church make money off it?
Are City Creek profits taxed?
Does the Church pay property tax on the mall?
Yes. The various mall properties are valued by the Salt Lake County auditor and taxed accordingly.
Has the mall revitalized the downtown economy?
Yes, it seems to contribute to the economic health of Salt Lake City. City Creek Center employs over 2,000 people and has attracted millions of visitors. The first year it was open, retail sales for all of downtown SLC went up 36%.
Is the mall environmentally friendly?
Reasonably friendly, for a mall. The mall recycled half the rubble from demolitions in the mall's construction, favors public transit and walkability, and employs energy- and water-saving techniques. The U.S. Green Building Council LEED-certified City Creek Center in 2012.
- George Shaw
“I was the SLC Planning Director when the City Creek was approved. We met with the Church architects weekly. They were more than accommodating to our ideas to improve the design of the mall. Remember, the country was in recession. IMO, the Church saved downtown....”
“While I agree that it’s ok to feel uncomfortable about it, I have very rarely heard anyone actually express discomfort. I think most people have absolutely no problem with it, it’s just a few very vocal opponents who have turned it into such a big issue.”
- Jordan W.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is a fine example of investing ten talents and earning ten more (Matthew 25:14-30). The church did nothing wrong in increasing the financial resources of the Kingdom of God by successfully investing in and blessing its local urban neighborhood.”
“I don't have a problem with this at all. Making money with your money is responsible. The real issue is . . . is there corruption? Like did President X or Elder Y get kickbacks and go buy a Bentley? I don't see any evidence for that.”
- Jimbo M
“Many members are gainfully employed. They are blessed by paying tithes and offerings. They have more money to spend in the mall. This means more revenues for the mall. Everybody wins.”
- Matt W
“I have no problem paying tithing. I'm 48 and have done it all my life. Investing is a worthwhile activity, it shows that money isn't being wasted.”
- Jesse P
“The question to me, I guess, is whether or not the Church should invest tithing. If it's morally okay for them to put tithing into stocks or other stuff, then is a mall any different? Is this a good way to multiply the talents? They'll be accountable for their stewardship.”