Tanger picked to operate outlet mall at Foxwoods

A Greensboro, N.C.-based company that owns and operates dozens of shopping centers across the country, including one in Westbrook, will partner on the development of the shopping mall proposed at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. will build, manage and co-own the facility, according to Sheldon Gordon, development partner for the project.

"We're going forward stronger than ever," Gordon said Wednesday.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which owns Foxwoods, announced in February that Gordon, a Greenwich-based developer of specialty retail projects, would develop an upscale outlet mall connecting Foxwoods' Grand Pequot Tower and MGM Grand at Foxwoods, the freestanding casino that rises next to Foxwoods.

The tribe, which would lease the necessary land to the developers, said groundbreaking would take place in the spring.

Gordon said the project was proceeding on schedule but that no start date has been set. The roughly 320,000-square-foot, 85-store mall is now to be called the Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods, he said.

A Tanger spokesman did not respond to emailed questions about the company's involvement in the project and the status of leasing agreements with mall tenants. Gordon would not identify any of the stores expected to occupy space in the mall.

Foxwoods officials had previously indicated the mall would be the first "convertible" outlet center in the country, with a retractable roof that would allow for outdoor shopping on a seasonal basis.

As economic conditions and increasing competition have squeezed gaming revenues in recent years, casino operators have focused on expanding and enhancing the nongaming amenities they offer patrons. At the time it announced the mall project, the tribe said it planned to develop a gas station, a convenience store and a restaurant.

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers is one of the largest owners and operators of outlet centers in the United States.

A publicly traded real estate investment trust, it focuses exclusively on developing, acquiring, owning, operating and managing outlet shopping centers. According to its most recent quarterly filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, it owns and operates 36 outlet centers in 25 states with a total gross leasable area of 10.7 million square feet. It also has partial ownership interests in three outlet centers, including one in Ontario, Canada.

The Tanger Outlet Center in Westbrook, off Exit 65 of Interstate 95, has more than 65 stores.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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