Site Work Starts on Outlet Mall in West Little Rock

by Lee Hogan  on Tuesday, Jun. 24, 2014 3:02 pm  

This site plan shows the location for a proposed 325,000-SF outlet mall in west Little Rock. The mall is slated to open summer 2015.

"It's about being at a destination with great access," Barelli said.

Deborah Black, vice president of marketing and public affairs at New England Development, said the development company is "delighted" to have Bass Pro Shops — the only one in Arkansas — so close to help bring in shoppers from areas outside of Little Rock.

"Outlet centers have a different sort of market reach than traditional shopping centers," Black said. "Tourists will come from miles and miles away to outlet centers."

New England Development expects Outlets at Little Rock to generate $100 million in annual retail sales, and in turn generate $6.5 million in state sales tax, $1.5 million in city taxes and $1 million in county taxes.

A Shift in the Industry

Although Outlets at Little Rock will be the state's only outlet mall when it opens for business, New England Development said there has been a shift from traditional shopping malls to more outlets.

In recent years, retailers have begun to see outlets as a growth and expansion opportunity, Deborah Black, vice president of marketing and public affairs at New England Development, said.

"There is such an emphasis on value," she said. "Outlet centers meet the needs of consumers, and they meet the needs for retailers looking for expansion opportunities so it is really a win-win for everybody."

Barelli said it was "somewhat" of a surprise to learn Arkansas did not have an outlet mall. 

"There are not many metro areas that have this kind of population where an outlet center has not gone," he said. "It is something of a great opportunity."

Interstate Exits & Bass Pro Drive

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department is set to receive bids July 23 for improvements to the I-30/430 interchange near Gateway Town Center. 

The improvements include a new of the I-430 southbound off-ramp and connection to the frontage road that runs in front of the Gateway Town Center. Another improvement is moving the I-30 westbound off-ramp for Otter Creek and Mabelvale West Road farther east. 

Danny Straessle, spokesman for AHTD, said the work work should be done by the end of the calendar year. The estimated cost is between $5-$10 million.

In a project separate from AHTD, Bass Pro Drive, which currently ends at Otter Creek Road, will be extended behind Bass Pro Shops and Outlets at Little Rock, and connect with the frontage road.

 

 

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