Ground was to be broken Thursday morning for the highly anticipated Tanger Outlets, amid a swell of support from nearby National Harbor businesses.
Last year, Peterson Cos. of Fairfax, Va., owner and developer of National Harbor, announced the 460,000-square-foot retail center would be built near its Oxon Hill complex. Peterson is in charge of site work, while Tanger, of Greensboro, N.C., will be handling the interior work.
Neither Tanger nor Peterson officials would comment on any new details before the groundbreaking ceremony, set for 11 a.m. Company officials previously said the center would include up to 80 stores in eight buildings. Other Tanger Outlets feature retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Nike, Gap, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour and J. Crew.
For their part, merchants in National Harbor welcome the complex.
“I like Tanger since it’s a higher-end mall and is outside as well as inside, so we’ll have a lot of customers in common,” said Cathreen Benny, owner of Chez Elle, a women’s clothing and accessories shop opening in National Harbor this week.
She said the proliferation of restaurants at National Harbor will encourage people to come over and maybe stop to shop.
“It’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here,” Benny said. “Anytime, you can bring in other traffic, I think it’s a good thing.”
Tanger and Peterson have boasted that the shopping center could result in almost 1,000 jobs and an additional 400 during construction.
“It’s going to bring a lot of business and opportunity. Once [customers] go there, they will come down here,” said Valerie Irick, assistant manager of the Black Dog general store in National Harbor.
Gayla Reed, co-owner of Coco Blanca, a home and fashion product store that has been in National Harbor for two years, also was excited about the groundbreaking.
“I think it will be a great addition,” she said.
The only Tanger Outlets complex in Maryland is in Ocean City, although the nearest outlet center to Oxon Hill is in Queenstown on the Eastern Shore.
Ground was originally to be broken on the new Tanger Outlets in October. The companies previously said the complex would open next year, but didn’t comment on whether that has changed.
Area residents have expressed concerns about the traffic the outlet stores will generate, especially when combined with the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter on Oxon Hill Road and Md. 210.