From Art to Climbing: The Versatility of Shops at South Town Mall in Sandy, UT

The Historical Journey of Shops at South Town

The Shops at South Town Mall opened its doors to the public in 1986, becoming a cornerstone of retail and entertainment in Sandy, Utah. Located just east of Interstate 15 on State Street, the mall initially attracted attention with its single anchor, ZCMI, which later became Meier & Frank and Macy’s.

In 1992, the mall welcomed JCPenney, adding another feather to its cap. The 1990s were a period of expansion for the mall, with Mervyns (which later became Forever 21) joining the tenant list in 1994.

Around the same time, a large Cineplex Odeon cinema opened its doors in 1990, boasting 2,350 seats across ten screens. It was the largest cinema in the state at the time but closed in February 2001 due to Loews Cineplex Entertainment’s bankruptcy.

Shops at South Town Mall in Sandy, UT

The space that once housed the cinema transformed and now accommodates a REI sports store and Momentum Indoor Climbing. This change is a testament to the mall’s adaptability and ability to keep up with changing consumer preferences.

The Architectural Transformation

In 2015, the mall embarked on a significant renovation project until 2017. This transformation’s first phase focused on interior and exterior remodeling, breathing new life into the aging structure. The mall officially unveiled its new look on February 14, 2017, marking a new era in its history.

The second phase of redevelopment transformed the area formerly housed Dillard’s and enlarged the central walkway. This renovation introduced modern elements, including enhanced lounge spaces, interactive digital information points, and improved exterior surfaces. Natural light now floods the interior to elevate the ambiance, thanks to the newly added skylights.

This redevelopment is part of Sandy’s larger city center development project, The Cairns. Spanning 1,100 acres, The Cairns aims to revitalize the area, and the mall’s transformation is a vital component of this ambitious project.

The Anchor Tenants: Then and Now

Anchor tenants have always played a crucial role in attracting footfall to the mall. Over the years, the mall has seen several changes in its anchor tenants—currently, it houses JCPenney, Round 1 Entertainment, Automotive Addiction, Utah Arts Alliance, and HomeGoods as its anchor stores.

There’s also a vacant anchor store previously occupied by Forever 21. This space has seen multiple tenants over the years, reflecting the mall’s ability to adapt to market trends. As of 2023, the former Forever 21 space is used as a hot tub outlet store.

The mall has also seen the closure of Macy’s in mid-2021. However, the space didn’t remain vacant for long. The top floor is now an art gallery, while the bottom floor has been transformed into a large vintage and exotic car museum. JCPenney remains the only traditional anchor store, but the mall’s ability to repurpose vacant spaces keeps it vibrant and relevant.

The Current Tenants and Their Diversity

The Shops at South Town is a melting pot of retail diversity, offering something for everyone. With over 120 stores and services, the mall has curated a tenant mix that caters to a broad spectrum of consumer needs and preferences.

Fashion lovers have many options, with stores like H&M, American Eagle Outfitters, and Lululemon offering the latest trends. For those who prefer a more boutique experience, Bella Ella Boutique and Böhme provide unique and stylish options.

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When it comes to dining, the mall doesn’t disappoint either. From fast-food favorites like Chick-fil-A and Dairy Queen to sit-down restaurants like Chili’s and Texas Roadhouse, there’s a culinary experience for every palate.

For those who enjoy international flavors, eateries like Arempa’s and Osaka Japan offer a taste of different cultures. And let’s not forget the coffee lovers; Starbucks and Pinned Coffee Co. are there to provide that much-needed caffeine fix.

The mall also caters to specialized interests. Car enthusiasts can explore Automotive Addiction, while hobbyists will find a haven in Hammond Toys & Hobby. Ethan Allen and HomeGoods offer various stylish options for those interested in home decor. Health and wellness are not forgotten, with stores like O Chi Acupressure and Sanctuary Day Spa & Salon offering services to rejuvenate the mind and body.

But the diversity doesn’t end there. The mall is home to several unique and specialty stores that add a distinct flavor to the shopping experience. For instance, the Salt City Sweet Shop offers a range of confectioneries that are hard to resist, while the Utah Art Alliance brings a touch of local art and culture to the mall.

Stores like these make the Shops at South Town more than just a shopping destination; they make it a community hub where people can shop, dine, relax, and enjoy a variety of experiences.

The Marketplace and Southtowne Auto Mall

Adjacent to the Shops at South Town is the Marketplace, an outdoor retail property that adds another layer to the shopping experience. Covering 312,000 square feet, the Marketplace is anchored by a Super Target store and includes other significant retailers like Old Navy and Buy Buy Baby.

The Marketplace was built in the mid-1990s, about a decade after the mall opened. As of 2023, the Barnes & Noble location in the Marketplace has closed and is currently being remodeled to become a Marshalls, set to open in the fall of 2023.

Just south of the mall is the Southtowne Auto Mall. While not directly connected to the mall, its proximity makes it a convenient stop for those looking for automotive options. It’s another example of how the area around the Shops at South Town has developed into a comprehensive retail and service hub.

The Shops at South Town in the News

The mall has been in the news for various reasons, from winning awards to hosting special events. In recent years, it won a national MAXI award for its interior and exterior art, showcasing its commitment to aesthetics and community engagement.

Special events like “Magical Christmas in the Wizarding World” have also made headlines, drawing crowds and creating a festive atmosphere. Earth Day activities and family fun events, especially during the opening of HomeGoods, have been other newsworthy moments.

The current management company, Pacific Retail, has proactively reimagined retail spaces to build communities. Their efforts have been recognized with three MAXI AWARDS at the ICSC 2019 Global Awards Ceremony.

The Future of Shops at South Town

Looking ahead, the mall has several plans and rumors surrounding its future. As of mid-2023, one such rumor is that Dillard’s may return to the mall. While this has not been confirmed, it indicates the mall’s ongoing appeal to major retailers.

For locals and visitors alike, the Shops at South Town continues to be one of the main things to do in Sandy, Utah. Its evolution over the years is a testament to its resilience and ability to adapt to changing consumer behaviors and market trends.


The Shops at South Town Mall has been a significant part of the retail landscape in Sandy, Utah, for over three decades. Its ability to adapt and evolve has kept it relevant in a rapidly changing retail environment.

From its historical journey to its architectural transformations, anchor tenants, and diverse current offerings, the mall has something for everyone. As it looks to the future, the Shops at South Town promises to continue being a vibrant and essential part of the community.

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