Project Renews Downtown, and Debate

SALT LAKE CITY — For many devout Mormons, Utah’s capital city is important mainly as a setting for the jewel that really matters: Temple Square at the city’s center. Brigham Young, the pioneer leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, laid out the urban grid with street numbers starting at the temple. The secular world was thus defined by the sacred core.

But now a hugely ambitious, $1 billion church-financed redevelopment project near the temple, called City Creek Center, and a wave of recent church property purchases in the vicinity are prompting a new debate inside the church community and out over where the line between culture and economics should be drawn.

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