No more delays: Construction of Foxwoods mall ready to begin

Mashantucket — A much-delayed groundbreaking for the outlet mall planned at Foxwoods Resort Casino is scheduled to take place this month, according to Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, one of the project's partners.

The groundbreaking "celebration" is set for Sept. 26 in the courtyard in front of Foxwoods' Grand Pequot Hotel, an announcement from Tanger says. Scheduled to attend are Steven B. Tanger, the Greensboro, N.C.-based developer's president and chief executive officer; Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which owns Foxwoods; Gov. Dannel P. Malloy; and Scott Butera, Foxwoods' president and CEO.

"The tribe and Foxwoods are looking forward to this new and exciting development here at Mashantucket," Bill Satti, a spokesman for the tribe, said Tuesday. "They feel this new addition will enhance the pre-existing world class resort that Foxwoods is known for, and Foxwoods will continue to be one of the premier destinations for patrons and guests here in the Northeast."

Attempts to reach a Tanger spokesman were unsuccessful.

The project, first announced in February 2012, calls for 312,000 square feet of retail space linking the Grand Pequot Hotel and MGM Grand at Foxwoods, the freestanding casino built near Foxwoods' main complex.

The groundbreaking originally was set for spring 2012, then repeatedly was pushed back. Harsh winter weather and delays in securing agreements with mall tenants were blamed for delays in the start of construction this year. The mall was scheduled to open in 2014.

Tanger, among the largest owners, developers and managers of outlet shopping centers in the United States and Canada, is partnering on the project with Gordon Group Holdings of Greenwich. The Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods would be built on land the partners are leasing from the Mashantuckets.

The mall, scheduled to open next year, is expected to comprise some 80 stores, none of which has been named yet publicly.

State economists last year hailed the project as a potential boon to southeastern Connecticut's economy, providing 400 temporary constructions jobs and about 900 permanent full- and part-time jobs once built.

Tanger owns the Tanger Outlet Center off Interstate 95 in Westbrook.

Both of southeastern Connecticut's casinos have planned retail expansions in a bid to bolster their nongaming offerings.

In June, Mohegan Sun announced plans to add 200,000 square feet of space devoted to retail, entertainment and dining — the Uncasville casino's first expansion in five years.

The $50 million Downtown District is to be built next to Mohegan Sun's Winter Garage and is to include a food pavilion, a 14-screen movie theater, an upscale bowling alley and a "promenade" of shops, including Coach, Tiffany, Sephora, Tommy Bahama, Puma and others.

Two development firms, the Morristown, N.J.-based Hampshire Companies and The Bronson Companies of Beverly Hills, Calif., are partnering on the project, which they would build on land they would lease from the Mohegan Tribe, which owns Mohegan Sun.

Mohegan Sun had indicated the groundbreaking would take place this fall, with the new outlets opening in early 2015.

A Mohegan official said Tuesday he was still hoping for a groundbreaking "this year."

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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