Inside the Walls: A hard hat tour of Prestige Outlets Chesterfield
By: Carol Enright
The walls are up. The floors are poured. And the roof is 80 percent framed out. Taubman Prestige Outlets Chesterfield is no longer a proposal or a site plan; it’s steel and concrete. And according to Taubman’s development manager, Nicolai Schultz, it’s on schedule to open on Aug. 2, 2013 – just in time to capitalize on the back-to-school, tax-free weekend and the second biggest shopping season of the year.
The half-mile frontage that passersby see as they drive through Chesterfield Valley will soon be home to phase one of the new outlet mall, which will contain 80 stores and encompass 310,000 square feet.
On a recent “hard hat” tour, Schultz described what he considers to be the design features that set Taubman’s development apart from a typical outlet mall.
“One of the things we’re doing here is giving tenants an opportunity to express themselves in the design of their storefront. That’s a departure from the norm in outlet centers because often they just have a standard storefront. We’re going to give a number of them the opportunity to design their own,” Schultz said. “That improves on not only their retail productivity, but also improves the shopper’s experience.
“It’s more engaging. It’s more interesting. It’s a more comfortable environment.”
Schultz also said the outdoor center is designed for shoppers’ comfort, even in inclement weather. The storefronts will be outfitted with awnings, and about six weather-protected overhangs will span across the central walkway running the length of the mall creating “a series of different points where people can take retreat from either the sun or the snow or the rain.”
The development is 70 percent committed, and Schultz talked about the importance of achieving a “critical mass” of retailers.
The development is 70 percent committed. Taubman’s leasing group recently returned from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) conference, an annual leasing event in New York, and Schultz said the buzz was positive.
“Coming out of ICSC in New York, tenants are still thrilled,” he said.
Schultz said momentum in leasing the mall continues to grow, and he talked about the importance of achieving a “critical mass” of retailers.
“In the long run, critical mass helps retailers succeed. It also helps you coming out of the gate,” he explained.
Schultz wouldn’t comment on the prospects of the competing outlet center being built by Simon Property Group just down the road, other than to reiterate the message that Taubman has hung its hat on all year: The first to market wins.
“While there’s been a lot of speculation about what’s going to happen with two outlet centers – if, in fact, two outlet centers are going to be built – it’s not when you start your construction, rather it’s when you open the center to the public,” Schultz said. “We will open on Aug. 2, 2013.
“We’ll open with 310,000 (square) feet and, in the long run, we believe we will be the most successful outlet center in the metro area.”