Voters gave the proposed Simon-Tanger outlet mall a boost this week when they upheld zoning for the Delaware County project, one retail expert said. The Simon-Tanger project, planned for Delaware County's Berkshire Township, near the Rts. 36/37 interchange off I-71, is one of four outlet-mall projects being proposed for central Ohio. Only one is expected to prevail, however.
Voters gave the proposed Simon-Tanger outlet mall a boost this week when they upheld zoning for the Delaware County project, one retail expert said.
The Simon-Tanger project, planned for Delaware County’s Berkshire Township, near the Rts. 36/37 interchange off I-71, is one of four outlet-mall projects being proposed for central Ohio. Only one is expected to prevail, however.
At least one backer of one of the three other projects said the game isn’t over and little has changed. Others are keeping their mouths shut about any alterations to their plans.
Simon-Tanger officials said their project is moving forward.
“Our next step is to meet with the township and county staff to start the detailed engineering and architectural design,” said Tanger spokesman Quentin Pell. “We would like to break ground in early summer, subject to receiving final approvals.”
The company is planning a grand opening of the mall — to be called Tanger Outlets — in the first half of 2015, he said.
Whichever project opens first will likely be the one and only “pure” outlet mall, said local retail analyst Chris Boring, principal of Boulevard Strategies.
“Right now I don’t think central Ohio can handle more than one pure outlet mall,” Boring said. “ It’s still an evolving industry, so we’ll see.”
Representatives of the other projects were reticent at best about discussing whether the vote means a change in plans:
• A spokesman for another project to be located in Berkshire Township, part of the larger NorthGate Centre from California-based Craig Realty and local developer Pat Shively, did not want to comment about the vote.
• Calls for comment went unreturned at the New Albany Co., owner of a 108-acre parcel at Smith’s Mill and Beech roads where the Outlet Shoppes at Columbus is planned.
• A spokeswoman for Columbus-based Glimcher Realty Trust, which plans to build an outlet mall in Madison County, just north of I-70, said that “nothing has changed for us.”
Glimcher may have the most to lose if the Simon-Tanger project opens first.
That’s because Glimcher is best known as the owner of Polaris Fashion Place, and because of that mall’s proximity to the Simon-Tanger project, Boring said, “I believe the Simon-Tanger project is going to impact Polaris Fashion Place more than any other mall.”
Glimcher isn’t very far along in developing its outlet mall, having yet to present any plans to the county.
Even so, Glimcher spokeswoman Karen Bailey said the company was moving ahead.
“Ultimately, we believe the city will only have one outlet center, and the final decision on which project moves forward will be driven by the retailers,” Bailey said.
However, that notion doesn’t necessarily bode well for Glimcher. Indianapolis-based Simon is the country’s largest mall developer, and North Carolina-based Tanger is the country’s largest outlet-mall developer — which gives their project heavy leverage in persuading retailers to sign on board.
Who will be on the list of tenants at the Simon-Tanger mall?
“It’s too early to release the names of our tenants,” Pell said, “but they will be in line with our existing portfolio.”
If the Simon-Tanger outlet-mall plan moves forward, that doesn’t mean the other three plans will entirely go away, Boring said.
“Even though there has been an outlet-mall resurgence in the past few years, they’ve been going against another trend — they’re single use. Most real estate is going to mixed use.”
The outlet mall at NorthGate Centre, for instance, had always been planned as part of a larger, mixed-use development that would include recreation, hotel and retail space.
And, Boring said, “I think we’ll see new types of development in New Albany, but not necessarily a pure outlet mall.”