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Much to the delight and surprise of many area residents, Horizon Group Properties and partner CBL & Associates announced a name change to the outlet mall being built in Simpsonville.
The retail center will go by The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass, which was announced late Friday afternoon, marking the second time the retail center’s name has been changed.
When discussion of this center first began, it was called the Outlet Shoppes of Louisville/Lexington. As the plans advanced through planning and zoning ,Lexington was dropped, but hundreds of complaints remained about the name’s continued link to Louisville.
As construction on this 374,000-square-foot center continues at the corner of Buck Creek and Veechdale roads south of I-64’s Exit 28 in Simpsonville, many had been resigned to the fact that it would have Louisville in the name.
The change, however, prompted a wave of positive feedback, including nearly 300 likes and dozens of comments on The Sentinel-News Facebook page.
“That's wonderful! I'm so glad that a company of this size heard the concerns of its community and worked to make people happier. Very impressed,” Angela French wrote.
The name was chosen from suggestions on Facebook and through E-mails sent to the company.
“We invited the people of Kentucky to name the center and we are thrilled with the response,” said Gary J. Skoien, chief executive officer of Horizon Group Properties. “We had over two thousand responses through E-mails and Facebook messages that overwhelmingly suggested we include ‘Bluegrass’ in the name.”
The change was met with positive remarks from local leaders, as well.
“I think, they always want to tie it to something regional, which is why they chose Louisville, but with Bluegrass it looks like it’s a part of the whole state,” Simpsonville Mayor Steve Eden said.
He said Simpsonville officials had spoken with the developers and let them know that many weren’t happy with the Louisville name.
“We let them know that a lot of people wanted it changed,” he said. “We made some suggestions, but we never pushed for the Bluegrass name.”
Katie Fussenegger, executive director of ShelbyKY Tourism Commission, said her office, too, was pushing for the change.
“We were right there with the citizens complaining that the mall was going to drive traffic from everywhere and that it shouldn’t be called Louisville when its in Shelby County,” she said. “We, of course, wanted it to be Kentucky-branded, and we understood their marketing need to go bigger to let people know where it is, but we wanted something that would be more inclusive.
“I think Bluegrass is something that’s very well known about Kentucky.”
In their release on Friday, the developers said they believe the new name better represents the region.
“We believe that The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass will draw travelers from a large area throughout Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Indiana,” Skoien said. “The new name reflects the scenic area that surrounds the center and provides a name that is easily identifiable to tourists.”
Construction started last year and is scheduled to be completed late this summer, and two restaurants, Culver’s and Bob Evans, are expected to be completed before the mall opens. The mall’s presence also has spurred development throughout to the I-64 interchange area.
The center will feature more than 80 stores.
“The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass will bring the best outlet retailers together in an ideal location,” said Stephen Lebovitz, president and CEO of CBL. “We are confident that the center will become a favored retail destination for area residents and tourists, as well as shoppers from surrounding states.”
A complete list of stores, including 26 new names, was also released Friday.
On that lineup of new stores are Adidas, Ann Taylor, Cole Haan, Columbia Sportswear, Hartstrings, Lucky Brand, North Face and Polo Ralph Lauren.
These stores join a list of nearly 50 released earlier that included names such as Asics, Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, Coach, Gap, J. Crew, and Saks Off Fifth Avenue.
Retailers to open at The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass
Ann Taylor Factory Store
Ann Taylor Loft
Christopher & Banks
Crabtree & Evelyn
Johnston & Murphy
Jos. A Bank
Lids Locker Room
Lucky Brand Jeans
New York & Co
Oshkosh B’ Gosh
Polo Ralph Lauren
Rack Room Shoes
Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th
White House Black Market