By Barry Shlachter, Scott Nishimura and Sandra Baker, Star-Telegram Staff Writers
It took about three years longer than originally planned, but dirt is finally being moved for an outlet mall just off Interstate 20 in Grand Prairie.
May 2008 was a tough time to announce a $100 million, 64-acre commercial real estate project. The financial crisis pretty much ended the chances of getting a loan for such developments.
Now, Paragon Outlet Partners has told Grand Prairie that it expects to open by August 2012, with a Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th store nailed down as one anchor and speculation that a Bloomingdale's Outlet will provide a second big name, chief city planner Kevin Lasher said. A Neiman Marcus Last Call had been planned, but the retailer pulled out, Lasher told staff writer Jim Fuquay last week.
The project will offer 402,000 square feet of retail space, and developers have told the city that more than 70 percent is leased, Lasher said.
Officials for Paragon, based in Baltimore, could not be reached for further details.
The Grand Prairie mall was first planned by Prime Retail. But Simon Property Group acquired Prime Retail in August 2010. Paragon Outlet Partners was formed by former Prime Retail execs, according to various trade reports.
Lasher said city officials are looking forward to the draw of a big destination retail center, to be located at the northeast corner of I-20 and Texas 360. The city has plowed about $8 million into street and drainage improvements using money from a tax increment financing district. Back in 2008, when it committed to the project, city planners projected that the mall would generate annual sales of more.