Canceled outlet project disappoints local leader

STALLINGS – Discussions about the proposed outlet mall in Stallings came to an end after leaders with Simon Property Group and Tanger Outlet Centers announced they would combine their forces to build a shopping destination in western Mecklenburg County. The two companies had announced competing projects in October before settling to work together on the Charlotte effort. Simon then abandoned its plans for a 400,000-square-foot, 100-business outlet mall at Idlewild Road and Interstate 485.

Though Simon never submitted a formal application to build in Stallings, some in the area had already started looking at what positive economic impact such a large project would have for the area. Others were more concerned about the negative affect on the area.

“There was interest from a lot of the residents in the area,” Stallings Mayor Lynda Paxton said. “There were some people in the area who were disappointed that we weren’t getting it, but there was also some concern about the traffic it could bring to the area.”

Many people in Matthews and Mint Hill, across the county border and near the I-485 intersection, were concerned about traffic. Mint Hill Mayor Ted Biggers said in an interview last week that the decision to stop the Idlewild project and move forward with the Charlotte project didn’t surprise him, and he was pleased he wouldn’t have to worry about the traffic issues the mall could have caused.

But though the outlet mall is out for Stallings, Paxton hopes to eventually see some kind of project built on the land. “The site is there and it’s a good location so I hope something is developed there in the future,” Paxton said.

No plans or discussions have begun about what will go on the empty property as of now, but Paxton said she thinks a hotel would best benefit those in the community. Since the land is in both Mecklenburg and Union County, any project for the site could run into some roadblocks.

“We don’t have any plans. I know the owner of the property would like to have some kind of property there,” Paxton said. “I personally would like to see some hotel development in that area.” With the new sports complex coming to Matthews,

Paxton feels the addition of a hotel could benefit the region and everything that is developing there.

Paxton said she has not heard any significant feedback from those in the community following cancelation of plans for the Stallings outlet mall, though cautioned she was not directly involved with the project.

Simon officials last week said they couldn’t comment on if they had any future development planned for that area, and their possible partner for the Idlewild project, Pragon Outlet Partners, did not respond to questions asking whether they plan to continue looking for ways to develop in Stallings or the surrounding area.

Simon and Tangers’ project, called Charlotte Premium Outlets, will be built at Steele Creek Road. The 350,000-square-foot outlet mall could eventually grow to the size of the proposed Stallings project, officials said last week. Both Simon and

Tanger plan to lease buildings in the outlet mall and hope to have about 90 stores once the development is complete in 2014.

This new project will not be the first time Simon and Tanger have worked together on a joint project.  They have come together for a project in Texas and are currently working on an outlet mall in Columbus, Ohio.

Tanger will deal with site development and construction for the Charlotte Premium Outlets while Simon handles all marketing and management services.

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