MERCEDES, TX-One of the newest retail entries by Simon Property Group, just in time for the holiday shopping season, is a new $50 million, 400,000-sf outlet mall here by Simon’s Chelsea Property division. Called the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets, the venue is drawing shoppers from both sides of the border, according to Michele Rothstein, senior vice president of marketing for Chelsea Property Group.

Shoppers “from all over the state of Texas and from cities throughout Mexico” form the new mall’s customer base, according to Rothstein, who describes the mall as an upscale center. Mayor Joel Quintanilla of Mercedes calls the outlet center “a much awaited project for our community.”

The new outlet mall, Chelsea’s 42nd premium outlet center, is 20 miles east of McAllen and 10 miles from the Mexican border on 54 acres, featuring 100 designer and name-brand outlet stores. It opened 97% leased to a tenant roster including Adidas, Ann Taylor, Anne Klein, Banana Republic, BCBG Max Azria, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Coach, Gap Outlet, Guess, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger and Sony.

The Mercedes property is one of two new venues opened this year via the Chelsea Property Group, previously a New York Stock Exchange-listed company that Simon acquired in October 2004, since that acquisition. The other was the Round Rock Premium Outlets in Round Rock, TX, 20 minutes north of Austin, which Chelsea opened in August.

Chelsea, which bills itself as the world’s largest owner, developer and operator of upscale outlet centers, continues to operate from its headquarters in Roseland, NJ as a division of Simon. The company also has a Pennsylvania outlet property slated to open in the summer called Philadelphia Premium Outlets in Limerick Township.

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