The race to open the first outlet mall in the shadow of Texas Motor Speedway appears to have slowed, with one project appearing to be stalled at the starting line.
“We have no updates or further details on the project at this time,” said Michael Phillips, a spokesman for Tanger Outlets, a firm based in Greensboro, North Carolina, that operates or has interests in more than 14.1 million square feet of outlet centers in San Marcos, Terrell and Texas City as well as in 23 other states and Canada.
When announced earlier this year, Tanger’s plans called for about 90 tenants to occupy an outlet complex spanning about 350,000 square feet at the Champions Circle development near the speedway.
Meanwhile, an outlet mall planned by Woodmont Land Co. remains on track. The Fort Worth firm contracted to purchase 45 acres from Hillwood Properties, the developer of AllianceTexas.
“We are working with Woodmont on one [outlet mall] adjacent to Cabela’s” sporting goods store, said Bill Burton, executive vice president of Hillwood Properties.
Outlets at Alliance, as the project is known, is expected to cover 45 acres on the northeast corner of Interstate 35W and State Highway 170. The property is north of Cabela’s and south of Hilton Garden Inn, Residence Inn by Marriott and Hampton Garden Inn.
“Construction will begin in spring 2016,” confirmed Stephen Coslik, chairman of Woodmont, adding that his firm plans to buy the property at that time and open for business in spring 2017.
About 20 tenants have committed to the project, which could have up to about 100 tenants, Coslik said.
“We chose this property because it’s the best location for retailers within the trade area,” Coslik added.
Burton also lauded the location.
“The combination of an outlet mall and Cabela’s, they are a great cross-trafficking [draw] and also will drive hotel rooms,” Burton said.
And that’s key to supporting growing numbers of retailers and shoppers flocking to the area specifically for Cabela’s and similarly big names. An outlet mall would only draw more visitors – some from out of the region, as outlet malls in Plano, San Marcos and other areas have shown – and necessitate more hotel rooms, Burton said.
“We’re adding another [hotel] at Alliance Town Center,” said Burton, referring to a Courtyard by Marriott hotel set to open in February on the northeast corner of I-35W and Heritage Trace Parkway.
That’s about four miles south of Outlets at Alliance property, but still within the general vicinity.
Even with the status of Tanger Outlet’s Alliance project not publicly announced, it has the support of the Fort Worth City Council. On May 19, the council approved an economic development deal granting Fine Line Diversified Development Co., operated by Fort Worth investor Ed Bass, Martin Bowen and Bill Boecker a rebate of 85 percent of the city’s one-cent sales tax for 10 years, or about $31.5 million. Tanger Outlets would be rebated 85 percent of the city’s sales tax for 15 years, or about $25 million.
Tanger would be required to invest $70 million into constructing the outlet center, with Fine Line required to sink $60 million into constructing 500,000 square feet of commercial space and 100,000 square feet of apartments. As Hillwood continues developing its property, it could find itself revisiting a role it oversaw in the early 1990s, when it was founded by building the nation’s first industrial airport, Alliance.
“We were in the infrastructure development business,” Burton said, speaking at a luncheon in October sponsored by CREW Fort Worth, a nonprofit organization of commercial real estate professionals.
“We did all the roads, water, sewer. We were an infrastructure company before we were a real estate company,” Burton said.