Simon Kicks Off Construction of 380,000-SF Outlet Center in New Hampshire
- Sep 23, 2010
September 23, 2010
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
With the economic downturn, shoppers have been frequently bypassing the traditional department store for discount properties, including outlet shopping centers like the project Simon Property Group just began developing in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Merrimack Premium Outlets will feature 380,000 square feet in its first phase.
With a location off the F.E. Everett Turnpike in Hillsborough County, Merrimack Premium Outlets’ 170-acre site is well positioned to attract buyers from the Nashua and Boston markets. Designed by Hennon Group Architects, the upscale outlet property will encompass space for 100 stores offering designer labels at below-market prices.
While the retail market is slowly improving, consumers continue to focus on value. “The turnaround in the retail sector will rely heavily upon the return of consumer confidence–as consumers move from buying only what they need and return to buying what they want,” Greg Maloney, CEO and President of Jones Lang LaSalle Retail, noted in the real estate services firm’s Mid-Year State of the Retail Market Report. “Discounters and value orientated retailers will continue to garner the lion’s share of discretionary dollars.”
But Simon has a little more faith in the market beyond the outlet center model. “As owners of many retail platforms, we believe there is continued consumer demand for all types of shopping centers including outlet centers such as the ones we develop,” Michele Rothstein, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Simon, told CPE. Simon–which wrapped up its $2.3 billion acquisition of 21 retail centers from Prime Outlets Acquisition Company at the end of August–is the nation’s largest owner and developer of retail real estate. Its portfolio of owned and partially owned assets encompasses approximately 263 million square feet in North America, Europe and Asia.
Domestically and internationally, the company continues to increase its long list of properties. In August, Simon, along with joint venture partner the Genting Group, broke ground on the 175,000-square-foot Johor Premium Outlets in Malaysia. Construction of Merrimack Premium Outlets is on track to reach completion in 2012. Simon has not yet announced a start date for Phase II.