By Shandra Martinez on September 19, 2013 at 12:25 PM, updated September 20, 2013 at 1:49 PM - mlive.com
BYRON TOWNSHIP -- Good news for shoppers who like their name-brand clothes and shoes at a discount - Tanger Factory Outlet Mall Inc has set its eyes on a Grand Rapids suburb.
The national outlet mall chain is moving ahead with plans to build an 80-store outlet in Byron Township at the site of the former Dome World. The enclosed sports and recreation center, at 84th Street and U.S. 131, has been vacant since the business closed a few years ago.
Township Supervisor Audrey Nevins Weiss says outlet mall could be open as soon as 2015, with construction beginning in a year.
She doesn’t expect the company to hit any roadblocks when the project heads to the planning commission next month for rezoning from agricultural to commercial, because the township master plan already calls for the change.
The appeal of the Byron Township property is its location between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, Weiss said she was told.
Although she doesn’t know yet how much the outlet mall will generate in taxes for the township, it is expected to create 800 to 1,100 jobs, the supervisor said.
The project is fast-tracked because Tanger already has a commitment from retailers for 80 percent of the space, well over the company’s 50 percent minimum rule.
“Retailers are very excited about it,” Weiss said.
Tanger operates 48 outlet malls across the country including two locations in Michigan.
The closest is in Howell, and where its a landmark along the I-96 highway between Lansing and Detroit.
It features outlet or factory stores for high-end retailers, including J Crew, Nike, American Eagle, Ann Taylor and Chico’s, that offer clothing at discounted prices.