A new outlet mall will solidify Delaware County's status as a mecca for central Ohio shopping in 2014.
Polaris Fashion Place and its 146 tenants led the way in 2001, but 2012 has been a banner year with the announcements of a Polaris-area Cabela's store, due to open in spring 2013, and a Menard's in the works off U.S. Route 23 in Orange Township.
Last Thursday, Nov. 29, the Simon Property Group of Indianapolis and Tanger Factory Outlet Centers of North Carolina announced they would develop a new, 350,000-square-foot outlet mall with at least 90 stores at Interstate 71 and routes 36/37 between Sunbury and Delaware.
Both companies have an Ohio presence: SPG owns the Mall at Tuttle Crossing, and Tanger recently purchased the outlet mall in Jeffersonville.
"We are pleased to partner with Tanger to bring great outlet shopping" to central Ohio, said John R. Klein, president of Simon's Premium Outlets division.
"The project provides the most compelling location for our merchants and our customers and will best serve the Columbus community."
The mall, scheduled to open for the 2014 holiday season, is expected to create 300 construction jobs and, eventually, 900 retail jobs.
Delaware County Commissioner Ken O'Brien said the recent boom in retail activity is a tribute to the foresight of previous county officials.
"I would go all the way back to the early 1970s and Clean Water Act and the commissioners' decision at that time to implement a master sewer plan," he said. "We saw a continuation of that push for infrastructure in the 1990s.
"The only way any of these developments can happen is if we have adequate water, sewer and electric, and we do."
O'Brien said the infrastructure creates a kind of economic synergy in the county.
"Delaware County is a wonderful place to locate a business and a wonderful place to live, which attracts even more businesses," he said.
The partners did not yet know which stores would anchor or populate the new mall.
However, Tanger recently opened a mall in Texas City, Texas, that includes tenants such as Aeropostale, Brooks Brothers, Kenneth Cole, New York & Co. and Tommy Hilfiger.
O'Brien also praised the Berkshire, Berlin, Kingston, Orange and Sunbury township trustees for their proactive stance toward development.
"You want growth, but you want it to be well-planned," he said. "All the trustees of those townships have done a good job in identifying where and what kind of growth they'd like to see. My experience working with those trustees has been very positive."