SuperMall, now Outlet Collection gets $35 million makeover
By MARK KLAAS
Auburn Reporter Regional Editor
March 7, 2013 · Updated 3:10 PM
The Outlet Connection continues to take shape.
As part of a $35 million mall makeover, crews recently began work on the next phase of the ongoing project — the exterior of the former SuperMall.
Workers tore down the "Great Outdoors" – a designed replica of Mount Rainer – at the southeast entrance of the Auburn mall on Feb. 28. It will be the first of five mall entrances renovated to feature a glossier, bolder, more modern design.
Mayor Pete Lewis joined city officials, mall management staff and business leaders to mark the occasion.
"Our $35 million reinvestment in the center demonstrates our commitment to the city of Auburn and the broader region," said Greg Fleser, general manager of The Outlet Collection│Seattle. "The physical and aesthetic improvements, combined with the momentum already behind our efforts to bring new designer brand outlet stores to the center, will attract national and even international shoppers to the city of Auburn. The result will be more jobs and increased tax revenue for the city, county and state."
Columbus, Ohio-based Glimcher Realty Trust, which has owned the mall since 1997, announced last May plans to change its Auburn holding from a hybrid mall to "a pure outlet center." The changes represent part of Glimcher's strategy to "continuously improve its quality and identify growth opportunities" within its portfolio of holdings, according to a company press release.
"Over the years, the center moved away from its original outlet design to become a mix of traditional, specialty, outlet and value retailers," Fleser explained. "The Outlet Collection shopping environment will be clear to our customers. By this fall, they will experience the largest indoor designer fashion outlet center in the Pacific Northwest."
Construction began last September to relocate the food court and install an interior connector to improve traffic flow throughout the mall. Customers can now better access both sides of the mall without circling its perimeter.
"From research, it is what the shoppers wanted," said Chantelle Herburger, marketing director for Glimcher.
The makeover also includes new flooring, modern aesthetics and updated entrances that will make the center more reflective of a designer fashion outlet, drawing interest from outlet retailers like Coach Factory Store, which opened late last year.
Glimcher also is introducing new logos, signage, light fixtures, new concourse furniture and WiFi hotspots.
"Just love the new design. It really does show that Glimcher listens to the public, especially with the (connector) and the other amenities that are here," said Nancy Wyatt, president and COO of the Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce. "It's just so exciting for them to come in here to us, in our community, knowing that this is just getting better and better."
Fleser said the project should meet its completion in October.
"We're very excited to report that our project is progressing on schedule," he said. "We're attracting a lot of attention from those designer fashion outlet retailers, as we had hoped and anticipated."
The renovation promises to enhance the community financially, Fleser added.
"We estimate somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 jobs will be created once we reach the finality of the project. The investment of $35 million ... largely the use of local contractors and sub-contractors for those things that are applicable creates jobs in the interim. The tax revenue from increased sales base is absolutely a benefit for not only the city of Auburn but also King County and the state of Washington."
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