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COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA-Columbus-based Continental Retail Development has announced plans to build the $200 million Designer Outlets of MidAmerica here at the intersection of Interstates 80 and 29. The 450,000-sf project will have more than 80 stores on 47 acres, company officials say.

Brett Robinson with Continential tells GlobeSt.com that there’s not another outlet center within 200 miles of this site. “This will be a big draw for Nebraska and western Iowa,” he says. Other positive factors include the site’s proximity to local casinos and retail such as Old Market and Bass Pro Shops, as well as company headquarters for Berkshire Hathaway, ConAgra Foods, Union Pacific and Mutual of Omaha, Robinson says.

No retailers have been signed yet, he says. “There’s a lot of interest by tenants, but it’s too early for us to announce,” Robinson says. “We’ve got a lot of interest by key tenants in the industry.” The ground breaking is scheduled for fall 2009, with a completion date in June 2010, he says.

Robinson says outlet centers are still strong, even though some retailers have backed down on new openings. “The number of new outlet centers is doubling almost every year,” he says. “New stores, like Talbots, are joining in on outlet centers, though even they are holding back on new stores now. Retailers are realizing that outlets are a strong industry.”

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