Monday, May 27, 2013

Steele Creek residents worry Tanger outlet mall will make traffic worse.

Jessica Milicevic
By Jessica Milicevic - Posted: Sunday, May. 26, 2013

Shoppers may be excited about the prospect of a massive outlet mall planned in Steele Creek, but residents who live near the site worry it will add traffic to the area’s congested roads.

The Charlotte Premium Outlet mall, scheduled to open next spring on 82 acres off Steele Creek Road, between Shopton and Dixie River roads, will include more than 90 name-brand stores and a 120-room hotel.

The outlet is being developed by Tanger Factory Outlet Centers and Simon Property Group.

Visitors to the outlet will be able to reach it from Interstate 485, which is what makes residents who live off Steele Creek Road nervous. Arianna White has lived off Steele Creek Road for nine years and about a month ago bought a home in the Berewick neighborhood off Dixie River Road.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m really excited to go shopping at the outlet, but I’m worried the traffic will be a nightmare,” she said. “The traffic coming from 485 is already really bad between 3 and 6 o’clock. Who knows how bad it’s going to be when we have hundreds of people coming to the outlet?”

White’s neighborhood is directly behind the outlet.

“It’s going to be especially hard on the Berewick communities, for us just to get out and do everyday things,” she said.

City Council member LaWana Mayfield has been working on the outlet deal since it was first brought to the City Council in 2012. The city is going to make infrastructure changes to help address traffic concerns, she said.

“I’m really happy (the Charlotte Department of Transportation) will add the new turn lanes and other improvements to Steele Creek Road,” she said.

The city and Mecklenburg County will give the developers $5.1 million in property tax rebates over 10years for the road upgrades. The improvements would cost about $7.7 million overall, and the developers would pay the balance.

The work includes improvements to Steele Creek Road; intersection improvements to Steele Creek Road at Brown-Grier Road, Shopton Road, Trojan Drive/Rigsby Road and the Interstate 485 Inner and Outer ramps; intersection improvements to Dixie River Road and future Berewick Commons Parkway Extension; the extension of Trojan Drive between Steele Creek Road (N.C. 160) and Shopton Road; and improvements to Dixie River Road between Steele Creek Road and Shopton Road., including a two-lane roundabout at Dixie River Road and a proposed mall entrance.

A representative from Simon said in a statement the company was working with North Carolina DOT and Charlotte DOT to “to develop a comprehensive traffic mitigation plan that include significant improvements to the interstate and road way infrastructure.”

The representative said the mall will bring more than 1,000 retail jobs, 200 construction jobs and estimated annual tax revenue of $1.2 million to the county and $825,000 to the city.

Mayfield said when negotiating with Tanger and Simon, she would like to see most jobs to be given to people who live in this area, and the developers agreed.

“I need to bring jobs in the area, and this is a great way to do that,” she said.

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