The Shopping Center Opens for Business on October 29

Tampa-Outlets_copyEver since the recession a few years ago, the number of new shopping centers in the United States has ground almost to a complete halt. Last year, only one new shopping mall was built in the United States, and that was in Florida. One of the few outlet malls opened last year was also located in Florida. So it should be no surprise that Florida, fully recovered from the recession and booming once again, would be the home of the country’s newest shopping center.

Simon Property Group has worked to open another outlet mall in the Tampa Bay area for over a decade, but the recession delayed their plans. Finally, on Thursday, October 29, Simon’s newest property will be open to the public. The 441,000-square foot shopping center, with space for 110 stores, will open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:40 a.m., followed by all stores opening for business at 10 a.m. The new outlet mall will be located at 2398 Grand Cypress Drive in Lutz, north of Tampa and the University of South Florida. It is located at the southwest corner of the junction of Interstate 75 and State Road 56.

Tampa-Outlets_copy2“This is going to be huge,” said Stacey Nance, the general manager for Tampa Premium Outlets, to a Tampa Tribune reporter during media day. “We’re looking at an estimate of 10,000 shoppers a day, but we’ll be well above that on opening weekend.” A pet project for Nance, she moved down from Indiana to Florida to oversee the construction and opening of the outlet mall.

Tampa Premium Outlets, at press time, has filled 103 of its 110 storefronts, including eleven food options. The mall is designed in the Key West style, featuring metal roofs, hurricane shutter façades, multiple widow’s walks, and siding painted in Florida pastel colors such as sea green and periwinkle. There will also be a guest services center, a media lounge, nursing areas for mothers, and free WiFi throughout the complex.

Tampa-Outlets_copy5Saks Fifth Avenue’s outlet incarnation, Off Fifth, will serve as the main anchor of the outlet mall, which hopes to surpass Ellenton Outlets as the most popular outlet mall in the Tampa Bay area. Some of the eleven food brands that will be represented at Tampa Premium Outlets will include Johnny Rockets, Haagen-Dazs, Starbucks Coffee, South Philly Cheesesteaks and Fries, Villa Italian Kitchen, and Nestle Toll House Cookies.

A sampling of the 92 retail stores that will open up at Tampa Premium Outlets on the 29th include Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Michael Kors, New York & Cmpany, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, The Disney Store, Cole Haan, Coach, Fossil, Swarovski, J. Crew, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Tumi, and many more. If you have a sweet tooth, both Godiva and Lindt chocolatiers will have stores at the outlet mall. Fans of diamonds can find trinkets for any occasion at Helzberg Diamonds, Kay Jewelers, and more.

Tampa-Outlets_copy3The opening weekend will include a number of events for both adults and children, and there will be a number of prize giveaways throughout the mall complex through Sunday, November 1. On Saturday, October 31, Bethenny Frankel, founder of Skinnygirl Cocktails and the star of The Real Housewives of New York City and the now-defunct chat show Bethenny, will be appearing from 1 to 4 p.m. She will be a part of a number of fashion-related events, including a fashion and lifestyle tips Q&A session with mall executives and fans. She will also host two autograph and meet and greet sessions during the afternoon. Admission is free but you must register as a member of the Tampa Premium Outlets’ VIP Shoppers Club first (also free). To do so, visit premiumoutlets.com/vip/register.asp.

Tampa Premium Outlets will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday during the grand opening weekend, and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Permanent opening hours for the outlets will be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Hours will be extended during the holiday season, including special opening hours on Thanksgiving Day, November 26.

For more information on the Tampa Premium Outlets, visit premiumoutlets.com/outlets/sales.asp?id=117. Follow the outlets on social media by going to facebook.com/tampapremiumoutlets and twitter.com/tampapo.

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Mike Halterman
Mike Halterman has been the editor of Hotspots Central since its launch in July 2016. He joined the Hotspots Media Group family as editor of Hotspots' South Florida magazine in June 2013. A former "40 Under 40" honoree in The Advocate magazine, Mike lives in the Tampa Bay area.