Simon to Build First Premium Outlets in Arizona

Arizona's very first Premium Outlets shopping center is in the works now that Simon Property Group Inc. has forged an agreement with the Gila River Indian Community's Wild Horse Pass Development Authority. The REIT is building based on location, not demand, as the average vacancy rate in metro Phoenix is 12.4 percent.

Arizona’s very first Premium Outlets shopping center is in the works now that Simon Property Group Inc. has forged an agreement with the Gila River Indian Community’s Wild Horse Pass Development Authority to develop Phoenix Premium Outlets across from the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler, Ariz.

The upscale outlet property will boast a location right on the well-traveled I-10 within the Wild Horse Development, providing easy accessibility from the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale areas. The first phase of the outlets will offer 360,000 square feet of retail space to accommodate approximately 90 outlet stores. Construction activity is on track to commence in the first quarter of 2012.

New shopping centers are not exactly popping up across the metropolitan Phoenix area, where the average vacancy rate in the first quarter was 12.4 percent, according to a report from Colliers International. But plans for Phoenix Premium Outlets center more on location than a yet-to-materialize demand in Greater Phoenix. Wild Horse pass, with 242 guestrooms and a 100,000-square-foot casino, will provide a ready-made pool of shoppers practically next door, as will the 500-room Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, which is also located within the complex.

In addition to building in the right location, Simon is building the right product for the current economic climate. “As the recession has taken so much out of everyone’s pocketbook, deep-discount retailers and outlet malls will do well along a freeway in a metro area, as opposed to being on the outskirts of a smaller town,” Jim Keeley, founding partner in Colliers’ Scottsdale office, told Commercial Property Executive.

Simon is not the only one with this bright idea. Tanger Factory Outlet Shopping Centers Inc. is planning a 375,000-square-foot outlet at the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Scottsdale.

Simon expects to complete construction of Phoenix Premium Outlets in spring 2013.