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Despite a bevy of moved dirt, rock and even a 6.5-acre lake, Horizon Group Properties along with representatives of the city of Simpsonville made things official Tuesday with a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site of Outlet Shoppes at Louisville.
After two years of speculation and development work, this retail center – now said to be 374,300 square feet of space – is under way on a 50-acre parcel at Exit 38 of Interstate I-64, just south of the intersection of Buck Creek and Veechdale roads.
About 100 people ranging from city, county and state officials to community leaders and representatives from participating companies turned out in support of the development.
Along with the ceremony, Horizon added a few big announcements.
The company has partnered with CBL & Associates Properties, following suit with their two most recent properties in Oklahoma City and Atlanta. CBL owns, holds interest in or manages 158 properties, with 96 regional malls/open-air centers, including Fayette Mall in Lexington and Jefferson Mall in Louisville.
The group also released a list of almost 50 stores that will occupy the center when it opens in August of 2014.
That list of stores varies quite a bit from a list that had been circulating the county via social media. Some highlight stores include: Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, Carters, Coach, Gap, J. Crew, Jos. A Bank, Levi’s, Michael Kors, Nike, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tommy Hilfiger and Under Armour.
Gina Slechta, vice president of marketing for Horizon, said the outlet center is about 75 percent full now and that the goal is for 90 percent by opening.
“[Opening at] Ninety percent is phenomenal. One hundred percent is off the charts,” she said.
She also added that the company is working to lease the lots that will border property, but there is nothing she can report.
“The outlots are an ongoing process,” she said.
During the ceremony, Horizon CEO and President Gary Skoien noted impact of the facility.
“The eight-million-dollar investment will create a thousand jobs and keep money here, instead of sending it to outlets in Indiana and Ohio,” he said. “It also will generate eight million in sales tax revenue for the state of Kentucky, or even more we hope.”
Skoien praised the work of Simpsonville officials and the commission.
City Administrator David Eaton remarked how impactful a city with just 2,484 residents can be.
“Too often small towns are considered inferior because of their population, but not when the residents and the leaders of those towns have the heart and desire to accomplish something of this size,” he said.
And Simpsonville Mayor Steve Eden noted that this is just the beginning for Simpsonville.
“We need to seize the opportunity that this brings,” he said. “They [Horizon] have been a joy to work with, and I look forward to a long and lasting relationship.”