Weather blamed for delaying Foxwoods project's groundbreaking

Harsh weather has delayed the start of construction for the outlet mall developers plan to build at Foxwoods Resort Casino, a source close to the project said Thursday.

Groundbreaking had been expected by the end of last month.

"We didn't break ground in February due to hard winter conditions," the source said. "We had a historical snowstorm and the ground is still snow-covered."

Barring anything else unforeseen, groundbreaking will take place this spring, and the mall, which will connect Foxwoods' Grand Pequot Hotel and MGM Grand at Foxwoods, will open in the summer of 2014, according to the source, who had not been authorized to speak publicly about the project and asked not to be named.

"Archeological investigations at the site have been completed successfully. Borings have been completed," the source said. "This project is now shovel ready. We're just waiting for better weather."

The mall project, first announced in February 2012, is being developed by Tanger Factory Outlet Centers of Greensboro, N.C., and Gordon Group Holdings of Greenwich, a partnership that also will own and manage the facility. The mall will be built on land the partners are leasing from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which owns Foxwoods.

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 it's built.

When the project was unveiled last year in connection with Foxwoods' 20th anniversary, groundbreaking was supposed to take place in the spring of 2012. The year's delay since then is partially attributable to Tanger's needing additional time to reach deals with mall tenants, according to the source.

The 312,000-square-foot mall, Tanger Outlets Foxwoods, will include some 80 stores.

"Our leasing process is on schedule," the source said. "Tanger has signed up a good number of tenants you'd recognize from their other shopping centers."

None of the mall's stores has yet been named.

Tanger, which owns the Tanger Outlet Center off Interstate 95 in Westbrook, is a leading owner, developer and manager of outlet shopping centers in the United States and Canada.

According to documents available on its website, the company's tenant base includes about 400 upscale brands, including Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, J. Crew, Nike and Polo Ralph Lauren.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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