Developers announced several new tenants and touted the economic and environmental benefits of their rebuilt Tanger Outlet Center I in greater Bluffton on Thursday.
Tanger officials, who spent $50 million and more than a year demolishing an old center and building a new one in its place on U.S. 278, showed off their handiwork during a tour for media and business leaders.
The new center, expected to open March 31, will replace one opened by other developers in 1987 and bought by Tanger in 2003.
That center was poorly built, lacked fire sprinklers in many buildings, could not accommodate many tenants' request for large spaces and had deep puddles in its parking lot during heavy rains, Tanger officials said.
The new center fixes all of that, the officials said, and they expect it will be the first shopping center in Beaufort County certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.
It will add a pair of entrances on the new Bluffton Parkway and is designed to look much like its nearby sister center, Tanger Outlet Center II.
The center has leases signed or pending on 92 percent of its 177,000 square feet of retail space, Tanger officials said.
Four outparcels slated for restaurants will bring the 22-acre center to about 200,000 square feet.
More than 30 of the center's 40-plus stores will be new to the market, according to Tanger officials. The largest of those, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, will occupy about 28,000 square feet.
The center also is expected to include Adidas, Bare Escentuals, Brooks Brothers Factory Store, Chico's Outlet, The Children's Place, DKNY Donna Karan New York, Hugo Boss, J.Crew, Jockey, Jones New York, Kay Jewelers, Kenneth Cole, Lane Bryant Outlet, Le Gourmet Chef, Levi's Outlet, LongHorn Steakhouse, New Balance, Nine West, Olive Garden, Panera Bread, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Sunglass Hut, Talbots, Theory, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour and White House Black Market.
Several of the previous center's tenants temporarily moved to The Mall at Shelter Cove on Hilton Head Island during the rebuilding. Tanger general manager LaDonna Shamlou expects all to return.
She said she regularly hears from people eager to plan vacations so they can shop at the new center.
"Hopefully it will be a big draw, and I'm sure it will," she said.
Throughout the tour, Tanger officials emphasized their efforts to be environmentally friendly.
They directed attendees to the event with green signs, donned green hard hats and scarves, handed out green notepads, and said a to-be-announced celebrity will emcee the center's Gloriously Green Grand Re-Opening to benefit the Coastal Discovery Museum.
They also highlighted how they:
That basin will result in less runoff than the open ponds of the previous center, said Jon Rembold, the project's engineering manager.
The combined effect of all those efforts should be significant, said Carl Close, an independent consultant who managed construction for Tanger.
"It's nothing major, but it's all little pieces that add up," Close said.