Tanger breaks ground for outlet mall with fashion show, band

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

A year from now, what was a 56-acre plot of soybeans will be a $110 million outlet mall.

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers broke ground on Thursday on an outlet center at the interchange of Rt. 36 and I-71 in Delaware County that will feature more than 80 stores, including Ralph Lauren, Gap, American Eagle, Cole Haan, the North Face and Brooks Brothers.

Several hundred people, a contingent from the Ohio State University marching band and elected officials gathered beneath a tent in the now-stripped field, the bare earth slick with the morning’s rain, to hear Steven Tanger talk about the future.

“When ya’ll come back — I’m a Southern boy — next year, there will be a shopping center here,” said Tanger, chief executive of Tanger Outlets.

The retail-center company is working with mall developer Simon of Indianapolis on the project. The deals and maneuvering to get the project to groundbreaking were more than two years in the making, said Steve Dworkin, vice president of development for Simon.

The new development will look much like the Tanger Outlets center near Jeffersonville. The company, based in North Carolina, anticipates the Delaware County location will pull from a different population base than its other Ohio property.

Tanger also said the proximity of Polaris Fashion Place isn’t an issue, although many of the chains announced for his outlet center have stores just an exit to the south.

“It’s different than what we do,” Tanger said.

Tanger’s project prevailed over three other outlet malls proposed for central Ohio sites, including one right next to the Tanger site in Berkshire Township called NorthGate Center. Columbus-based Glimcher Realty Trust wanted to build an outlet mall in Madison County, and Michigan-based Horizon Group Properties had plans for a site in New Albany.

Tanger declined to provide further information about additional shops at the outlet center or food offerings.

The new center will create 900 jobs when open and more than 400 jobs during construction, according to Tanger and other officials who spoke at the ceremony.

The project is part of a tax-increment-financing district approved by voters. The TIF shunts 75 percent of taxes generated by the project for 10 years toward $8 million worth of infrastructure that the county pledged for the project: roads, a widened exit ramp from northbound I-71 onto Rt. 36, and other traffic improvements. Tanger and Simon also pledged $8 million toward the needed infrastructure.

None of that work includes a new interchange proposed just south of the outlet project.

Work to widen the northbound exit ramp at Rt. 36 could begin early next year, said Ferzan Ahmed, deputy director for District 6 of the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The location, just north of Columbus, was one the company had sought for a while, Tanger said. He said he thinks Columbus is underserved by outlet retail.

The center is projected to pull customers from a 60- to 75-mile radius, leaving markets such as Cleveland and Toledo open to future developments. Tanger has 46 properties in 26 states.

“We’re bullish on the state of Ohio,” he said.


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