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GRAND PRAIRIE, TX-The city has finalized an agreement reached in October with Baltimore-based Prime Retail for development of a 485,000-sf retail outlet center, to be called Prime Outlets-Grand Prairie on 64 acres along Interstate 20, between the future extension of the TX-161 tollway and State Highway 360. The two parties signed off on the deal on March 4, with development slated to commence this fall for opening in late 2009.

The contract commits the city to make various infrastructure improvements, acquire adjacent property on which Prime will build parking and reimburse the company for some development costs. In return the city will earn more than $3 million a year in sales and property taxes, and will benefit from the addition of about 500 new jobs. Grand Prairie economic development director Bob O’Neal calls the deal a win-win situation. “We get a great developer with great tenants,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “We get destination retail, which helps our tax base and our residents get a great place to shop. We win on all fronts.”

The site is located in a TIF district formed in 1999 that stretches from Texas 360 to Texas 161. Tax revenue generated by higher property values due to new development goes to finance public improvements within the district. “We’re looking at the project as an important source of sales-tax growth,” says O’Neal. “Our tax base is heavily residential. This will relieve the burden on local homeowners and allow us to provide improved services.”

As for Prime, Bruce Zalaznick, the company’s EVP of real estate, lauds the location’s visibility, demographics and tourist potential. “That’s what’s going to make this a better-than-average opportunity,” he says. “The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is obviously a very robust market, and Grand Prairie is one of the true growth areas of the Metroplex. We’re very lucky to be there.”

The project will feature 120 outlet stores, a food court, several restaurant pads and 2,700 parking spaces. No tenants have been signed, but Zalaznick reports several deals are in discussion and says tenant interest has been strong. The tenant mix is expected to be similar to that of the company’s project in San Marcos, which includes Nieman Marcus Last Call, Giorgio Armani General Store and a Sak’s Off 5th stores.

O’Neal expects the mall to catalyze additional retail development in the area and increase the city’s tourist business, attracting three million to five million people a year. According to Grand Prairie Mayor Charles England, the city already draws more than six million visitors a year to Lone Star Park, Nokia Theatre, Joe Pool Lake and other tourist venues. A $16-million stadium for a minor league baseball team, the Airhogs, is in construction.

The project will be Tarrant County’s second outlet mall. The first is Grapevine Mills, a 1.6-million-sf center by the Mills Properties division of Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc., which opened in 1997 in Grapevine. It joins another new Grand Prairie retail project, Lake Prairie Towne Crossing, a 576,583-sf power center nearing completion at Camp Wisdom Road and State Highway 360. Developed by Kimco Developers Inc. of Los Angeles and Lisle, IL, the already opened project includes SuperTarget, Home Depot, Marshall’s, Ross, PetCo and 24-Hour Fitness.

A subsidiary of New York City’s Lightstone Group LLC, the company has a portfolio of retail centers totaling 15 million sf. Last year it announced an aggressive 24-month development agenda involving construction of nearly 1.5 million sf by the end of 2009.

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