GRAND PRAIRIE -- With a little more than two months until its grand opening, executives with Baltimore-based Paragon Outlets Partners gave a sneak peek of their new Grand Prairie shopping center Tuesday and announced that it will open fully leased.
"We know people can't wait when they see something," said Bob Brvenik, a Paragon principal. "We have people already coming here and trying to start shopping. That's just wonderful."
Paragon Outlets Grand Prairie, with more than 100 retailers, will hold its grand opening Aug. 17.
Grand Prairie officials have waited for the shopping center since 2008. That's when the project was announced for the 56 acres at the northeast corner of Interstate 20 and Texas 360, just as the recession made loans for commercial developments hard to come by.
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The project's original developer, Prime Retail, was bought by another shopping center company. Paragon Outlets was formed by former Prime Retail executives who stayed on the project.
"We're one of eight large retail projects nationwide actually opening this year," Brvenik said. "That's pretty significant."
More significant to city officials, though, is that the 420,000-square-foot center will have about 1,700 full-time employees and generate $2.5 million to $3.5 million in annual sales tax revenue.
"We're very fortunate to have a retail project this size," said Bob O'Neal, Grand Prairie's economic development director. "They're saying this is going to be one of their biggest malls in the nation. We're hoping to generate sales tax something close to the equivalent of three or four Wal-Marts in one location."
Crowds are expected to reach 20,000 each day during the opening weekend, which is also the state's annual sales tax holiday. Brvenik said shoppers can expect retailers to offer special deals that weekend.
O'Neal said Grand Prairie will investigate ways to improve traffic flow into the center from I-20. Sara Jane Parkway, on the north side, has been extended around the center, with plans to extend it east to Texas 161.
The outlet mall will include iconic names, such as Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tommy Hilfiger and Banana Republic. As of Tuesday, the developers said all the anchors and 30 stores are under construction, with work on 50 more expected to begin this month. Most are anticipated to be open by the grand opening.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727