20 August 2023

Valley Fair, West Valley, UT

 An extant asset

I was landing on a wonderfully clear evening into Salt Lake City International Airport when out of my window I saw the signature of something in which I’ve always taken a keen interest.  There was a large, brightly lit moat of asphalt surrounding a sprawling monolith with splashes of reds and blues highlighting the exterior walls.  There were clearly connected buildings of different heights and architecture at each end with another in the middle.  This was my first Utah shopping mall.

I found out later that this was Valley Fair Mall in West Valley City, Utah, a southern suburb in the great western metropolis of Salt Lake City.  On my next trip to this gorgeous destination, I boarded the Salt Lake City light rail’s Green Line and took it all the way to the southern end.  There, just across 2700W from the West Valley Central Station, was what I had only previously seen from a couple thousand feet up.

Valley Fair's interior.

There were no surprises at Valley Fair Mall.  There was one traditional anchor, JCPenney, and a mix of junior anchors along with your normal selection of mall shops down the main concourse.  The other two anchor spots had been subdivided into a mix of entertainment and junior anchors, while the main concourse contained a lively mix of national names and local businesses.  Most importantly, the shoppers were out and about.

Valley Fair pamphlet ca 2021.  See the full PDF version here.

It was apparent that Valley Fair has seen a recent remixing of its tenants to broaden its appeal to what is a different demographic than when it was originally built.  Luckily, during this process Valley Fair was not demalled and lost forever.

Exterior shots of the mall and JCPenney.

Valley Fair Mall opened in 1970 on what was, at the time, the exurbs of Salt Lake City.  ZCMI and JCPenney opened as the original anchors.  A major redevelopment was carried out in the late 2000s along with Meier & Frank’s takeover of the ZCMI location.  By the mid-2010s, Macy’s, which by then was occupying the Meier & Frank location, had departed with junior anchors taking portions of the building.  Today, Valley Fair Mall fills its niche within the Salt Lake City market nicely and will hopefully continue to do so.

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