The proposed 400,000-square-foot outlet mall that had officials in Matthews and Mint Hill nervous about creating a traffic nightmare at Idlewild Road and Interstate 485 is off the table for now.
Simon Property Group announced its intentions this week to join forces with Tanger Outlet Centers and build the 350,000-square-foot Charlotte Premium Outlets on the other side of the county, at the intersection of I-485 and Steele Creek Road. Officials with the companies – after the competing projects were announced in October within days of each other – said it was likely only one outlet mall would actually ever be built. On Wednesday, Nov. 28, the two companies announced that it was the Steele Creek property that survived the negotiation process.
Simon officials said they couldn’t comment on whether they had interest in building in the Matthews-Mint Hill area in the future. Officials from Tanger and Paragon Outlet Partners – which would have teamed up with Simon to build the Idlewild project – did not return calls by press time.
The mayors of both Matthews and Mint Hill had expressed concern about the proposal, which would have been inside Stallings town limits. There was a fear that the roughly 100 brand name stores coming to the area would make a bad traffic situation worse when the center opened in 2014.
Mint Hill Mayor Ted Biggers said Thursday he wasn’t surprised by the announcement after hearing from local real estate developers that the Steele Creek site was likely better suited for an outlet mall. But the announcement means officials won’t have to worry about additional traffic in the area – yet.
Though the Steele Creek project is slated to be slightly smaller than what would have gone at Idlewild, officials said in a news release Wednesday there’s the potential to expand by some 50,000 square feet in the future. Tanger will handle site development and construction supervision as the project grows, while Simon handles management services and marketing. Both companies will lease buildings at the center with a goal of having more than 90 stores once things are complete in 2014.
The two groups also are partnering on an outlet mall in Columbus, Ohio. They previously worked together on a center in Texas.
“You always have concerns, especially tracks of land around an interchange because you know eventually something’s going to go there,” Biggers said. “But until a plan is submitted and the process has started I try not to get too nervous.”
However, Mint Hill residents are waiting on word about their own planned Bridges at Mint Hill mall proposed off Lawyers Road near the intersection of Interstate 485.
Biggers said a meeting this fall with developers Childress Klein revealed that the company still plans to resume construction in 2013.
“They are still proceeding and haven’t abandoned the project,” he said, adding the “biggest hold-up” was traffic control improvements with the N.C. Department of Transportation.