LEHI — Utah shoppers will have a new place to conduct their "retail therapy" beginning this fall.
A $70 million, state-of-the-art shopping center opens in November that will be near the border of Utah and Salt Lake counties.
The Outlets at Traverse Mountain — a 225,000 square foot shopping center on a 50-acre site 30 miles south of Salt Lake City — is under construction near the Alpine/Highland exit along I-15. The center is a joint venture between Craig Realty Group and Lehi-based Legacy Retail, LLC.
The project is one of nine outlet centers scheduled to open in 2012 across the country, bringing the total to 187 properties nationwide. In Utah, similarly designed outlets currently operate in Park City and St. George, along with another discount outlet property in Draper.
"There are approximately 100,000 shopping centers in the U.S.," said Linda Humphers, editor-in-chief of Florida-based Value Retail News. "(But) there are fewer than 200 outlet centers."
While the Summit and Washington County properties have enjoyed a fair amount of success, the Draper property has struggled to stay afloat, according to Humphers. She said outlet centers have to have a strong component of outlet tenants to remain viable.
Outlet tenants are typically retail chains operated by a manufacturer or a brand, she explained.
"Like Gap, Anne Taylor, Talbot, Polo or Coach ... they will specifically operate an outlet chain," Humphers said. "That's different from (discounters like) T.J. Maxx, Marshall's or Ross, which buys leftover goods wherever they can."
She said a well-run outlet property can often attract additional retail development to the area, helping to bolster the local economy.
"Good business begets good business," she said.
An important factor in the success of an outlet center is how well the development is planned and managed, something the developer of the new Lehi project said he has taken very seriously.
"(We) spent an inordinate amount of time really sweating the details to make it easy to shop," said Steven Craig, president and chief executive officer of Craig Realty Group.
He said the retail areas will be designed with no stairs for visitors to navigate, aiding in their ability to move about easily whether walking, traveling in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller.
"Our walkways are extraordinarily wide, so it's a very open, easy nonconstricted way to move about," he said. "You also (will be able to) walk around the entire project and never get wet if it's raining."
A system of awnings and skylights will provide coverage for shoppers throughout the project.
Upon completion, the project will also include a 12,000 square foot grand lobby anchored by a 50-foot fireplace that will be covered in natural stone.
“We have focused on assuring customers an unsurpassed shopping experience year-round,” Craig said, adding that the radiant heated walkways and two outdoor fireplaces that will offer patrons added comfort during the cold-weather months.
The project will also feature glass canopies covering exterior paths to protect shoppers from snow and UV rays while preserving the center’s open-air design.
“The project’s central location will offer residents and tourists convenient value shopping and, of course, we are excited about the new job opportunities this center creates for residents all along the Wasatch Front,” Craig said. “We are pleased with the quality retailers who have already finalized leases,”
Among the confirmed tenants for the center — Banana Republic Factory Store, Calvin Klein, Coach Factory, Gap Outlet, Levi’s Outlet Store, Nike Factory Store, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Under Armour and Vans Outlet.
Craig said the first phase of the project could house approximately 85 retailers and restaurants. A second phase could be added in the next year or two, bringing another 30 tenants, he said.
"We want it to be (local residents') regular shopping destination," Craig said. "If you've got a great experience with good values that's easy to get to and fun to shop at, it's really a great combination."
Confirmed outlet stores
Many retailers have confirmed plans to open at the Outlets at Traverse Mountain. The project could include up to 85 stores and restaurants upon its scheduled opening in November. New stores include:
Auntie Anne’s, Banana Republic Factory Store, Bass, Calvin Klein, Carter’s, Chico’s Outlet, Coach Factory, Famous Footwear Outlet, Gap Outlet, GoLite, Gymboree Outlet, IZOD, J. Crew Factory, Le Creuset, Levi’s Outlet Store, Nike Factory Store, OshKosh B’gosh, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Skechers, Tommy Hilfiger, Vans Outlet, Under Armour, Van Heusen