Texas City: Outlet mall in works

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by Laura Elder / The Daily News

khou.com

Posted on January 13, 2011 at 11:53 AM

TEXAS CITY, Texas — Major mall operator Simon Property Group said it plans to build a 350,000-square-foot outlet center at Interstate 45, south of Holland Road, delivering some of the biggest retail news Texas City has had in decades.

Indianapolis, Ind.-based Simon Property Group, which owns successful outlet malls such as Katy Mills in Houston and Grapevine Mills near Dallas, said it had an option to buy 55 acres that were previously part of a plan for Lago Mar, a 7,000-home residential community along the Interstate 45 corridor. Lago Mar, west of Texas City, was sidelined by lingering real estate market malaise prompting landowners to begin selling off parcels for other ventures.

Developers are calling the proposed mainland mall "Galveston Premium Outlets." The mall, between Holland Road and Walmart, will house about 100 stores, said Michele Rothstein, spokeswoman for Premium Outlets, the outlet division of Simon Property Group.

Rothstein said Premium Outlets is preleasing the center. She declined to name potential tenants but said interest had been strong.

"We are excited about the interest our merchants have in the project," Rothstein said. "Typically, we announce stores much closer to opening."

The center would offer a mix of product categories, including apparel and shoes, fashion accessories, leather goods, home furnishings and specialty retail.

Outlet centers differ from regional malls such as Baybrook Mall and Mall of the Mainland because manufactures sell directly to the public and promote discounts on merchandise.

Successful centers such as Katy Mills and The Mills are considered shopping destinations, boosting tourism in their home cities.

The center is projected to generate more than $120 million in yearly retail sales, $10 million in sales tax yearly and $1 million in property tax revenues, Simon officials said.

The news comes as unconfirmed rumors fly that Greensboro, N.C.-based Tanger Outlet Centers plans a large outlet mall on 20 acres north of Cross Colony Drive and west of FM 646.

La Marque is home to a small outlet mall — Gulfway Plaza, 14047 Delany Road. But Gulfway Plaza, which never had the large concentration of tenants to lure tourists, has found a more profitable purpose by leasing space to a mix of government agencies, professional offices and factory outlet tenants.

It’s been a long time since Texas City has had such big mall news.

Operators of Mall of the Mainland, plagued by tenant departures, last year filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Not long after, lender Pacific Western Bank took possession of the property and hired Boxer Property Management, known for turning around distressed properties, to manage and improve operation.

The Premium Outlets has 83 outlet properties in its portfolio — 57 in the United States primarily in or near major metropolitan markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago and visitor markets such as Orlando, Las Vegas and Palm Springs, Fla.

This story was brought to you thanks to khou.com’s partnership with The Galveston County Daily News.

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