Woodmont-backed outlets seeking economic development grant in Alliance area

Woodmont Outlets rendering

Two outlet malls standing about 15 minutes away from one another may soon be coming to Fort Worth’s AllianceTexas area.

One is the Tanger Outlets across from Texas Motor Speedway, and the other is the Outlets at Alliance – Fort Worth off Interstate 35 and State Highway 170. The former received an economic development program grant from the city last year and has already broken ground. Now the latter – being developed by  The Woodmont Company – is looking to do the same, hoping to receive its own incentive package from the city.

The Woodmont outlets is seeking a $20 million economic development grant over a 15-year period. In order to receive this grant, the outlets are required to invest at least $100 million on development by the end of 2019. Some of the other requirements include spending 30 percent of construction costs on Fort Worth contractors and 25 percent of construction costs on minority or women-owned business. In addition, the outlets must create at least 350 full-time equivalent jobs.

Woodmont’s 115-acre project is “trying to move fairly quickly” with hopes of breaking ground this year and finishing construction in 2019, said Robert Sturns, economic development director at the City of Fort Worth. The Woodmont Company plans to build 580,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and other space.

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Though no tenants have signed onto the project yet, potential tenants in the Woodmont outlets include H&M, J. Crew and Vera Bradley, Sturns said.

The Fort Worth City Council is expected to vote on the grant on March 22.

Meanwhile, construction on the Tanger Outlets at the 279-acre Champions Circle is already underway, particularly at the Buc-ee’s convenience store. Sturns said the first phase of the Tanger development should be finished by 2018.

The city council approved Tanger’s economic development grant last May. Their agreement was a $56 million grant over a 15-year period, with the developers promising to invest $235 million for all three phases of the project.

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Sturns said both Tanger and Woodmont were “anxious to get started.”

“Obviously they’re going to be some really nice, high-scale developments,” he said. “I think they’ll be fairly complimentary of each other.”

As far as what will happen once both sites are up and running, Sturns said he expects intense competition between the two, which will likely attract outlet retailers that aren’t typically the ones found at a traditional outlet mall.

But when plans for Woodmont’s economic development agreement were presented to city council on March 1, councilman Dennis Shingleton said he doesn’t see the viability of having two outlets so close together. Both projects fall in Shingleton’s district.

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“They both won’t succeed,” he said. “There’s just not that much population out there to support two identical outlet malls. They both know that.”

But councilman Cary Moon said the market should decide which outlet mall succeeds and which one doesn’t.

“We shouldn’t choose between those two projects,” he said. “We should let those two market guys go out there and fight it out, and we’re just rebating the sales tax.”

Nonetheless, Sturns said he’s excited to see what happens on both sides.

“From an overall economic impact, it’s obviously going to be very positive for the city just from the standpoint of these deals are based only on the potential sales tax that is generated,” he said. “They’re obviously going to have to perform in order to hit those numbers.”