More room for more deals?
Developers of the Tanger Outlet Mall, a Kimball Junction staple since 1985, met with the Sndyerville Basin Planning Commission last week to propose adding 23,000 square feet to accommodate additional retail stores.
The Outlets currently contain 309,000 square feet of commercial retail space housings stores such as J.Crew, Nike, American Eagle and Old Navy. In 1999, 106,000 square feet were added to the existing mall.
According to Bassam Salem, chair of the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission, a representative from the Tanger Outlets, David Rose, is applying for a Specially Planned Area Rezone.
"The general consensus of the Commission was that the expansion seemed OK but since they want to build it near the entrance we think it would really close off the mall," he said. "We were also concerned about the roundabout in front of the Outlets on Kilby Road being able to handle the increased traffic caused by additional stores. We may need to rework the traffic circle to make sure it continues to be functional."
Salem added that some Commissioners questioned whether additional retail space is needed in the current economy but Rose said the mall is currently at its maximum capacity and the additional space is necessary.
"We do not consider economic viability when approving a project," he said, "We did mention to developers that we often hear from residents that there is limited food options at the Outlets but they said the addition will not include a restaurant, only retail space and maybe a small food stand similar to Mrs. Field’s Cookies."
Planning Commissioner Bruce Taylor said his concern with the project is the proposal to add additional parking behind the eastern side of the mall, partially blocking access to Furburbia.
"Since the additional stores would take away some parking, they proposed adding employee parking behind the mall so overall only three spots would be eliminated," Taylor said. "We want them to add walkability to the area so it is not a sea of parking and we aren’t thrilled by how enclosed the mall would be. But they said they will frame the entry with towers to add to the mall visually."
Developers will amend their proposal and present it to the Commission again at a later date.
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The County Council doled out grants supporting ventures ranging from discounting plane tickets to supporting a classical music festival.