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HEMPSTEAD, NY-Neiman Marcus is entering Long Island in the form of a 32,000-sf outlet center in Deer Park. The 37-unit luxury chain’s first store in this part of suburban New York City will anchor Tanger Factory Outlet Center’s 800,000-sf Deer Park development, which recently broke ground and is scheduled to open next summer.

“Long Island is one of the most under-retailed areas of the country,” said Steven Tanger, the Greensboro, NC-based developer’s president and chief operating officer, speaking here at Hofstra University during a luncheon put on by the school’s Institute of Real Estate. The area has only 7.4 sf of retail per resident compared to the 21.3 sf in the rest of the US, he says.

The Deer Park center is Tanger’s second on Long Island. The first is the 729,315-sf outlet mall in Riverhead that the firm opened in 1997. The company owns 35 centers across the country.

The road to opening both centers has been rough, Tanger says, stressing that special-interest groups worked hard to delay both projects. “Developing in Long Island is a arduous process,” he says.

Deer Park is not the only new development in the company’s pipeline. The firm plans to build centers in Burlington, NJ; Mebane, NC; Pittsburgh; and Port St. Lucie, FL. Expansions of centers are underway in Barstow, CA; Branson, MO; Gonzales, LA; Gulf Shores, AL; Myrtle Beach, SC; and Tilton, NH.

“New developments have always been and continue to be a long term part of our strategic plan,” Tanger says. The firm is especially interested in building projects in areas that have strong tourism, a lack of competition and good highway visibility, he says.

However, Tanger has no future ambitions of opening outlet-centers overseas, like its main competitor, Simon Property Group, which operates and is building projects in Japan and South Korea. “We’re not going overseas,” Tanger says. “There’s plenty of room to expand in this country.”

Tanger’s speech was Hofstra’s first Institute of Real Estate luncheon and raised $12,000 is student scholarships. The university would like to get more involved in the Long Island business community with events like these and help tackle such problems as the housing slump, office-space shortages, affordable housing and downtown revitalization, says Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz.

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