WESLEY CHAPEL — Bargain hunters can finally rejoice. Simon Property Group has been cleared to start building the long-awaited Tampa Premium Outlets at Cypress Creek Town Center.
Pasco County planning officials approved the plans for the 1.1-million-square-foot outdoor outlet mall late Friday. Simon Properties, the world’s largest real estate company, is in the process of buying the 57-acre site at the Interstate 75-State Road 56 interchange.
“They’re good to go,” planner Owen Young said. The company submitted the revised site plan last March. Young said it went through four rounds of comments and revisions before winning approval from the county. “The only thing that’s still in process is the (internal) road, but it has no impact on the premium outlets.”
County Commission Chairman Jack Mariano said the shopping center is “perfectly placed.” Commissioner Ted Schrader agreed, saying the mall will enhance the area’s reputation as a shopping destination. “It’s an outstanding location,” he said. “I know they recognize that, with The Shops at Wiregrass just down the road. I’m glad it’s working out for them. They’re going to provide a solid tax base for Pasco County, and they’re going to bring a lot of people from outside the county to spend their money here.”
County Administrator Michele Baker said a project of this magnitude creates a buzz for Pasco County. “This type of quality shopping experience is important to our residents and to our economy,” she said. “We don’t normally think of shopping centers as economic development, but it will create a lot of jobs and it will be a regional draw and bring sales tax revenue to our county.”
Zoning Administrator Carol Clarke said the mall is scheduled to open in time for the 2015 holiday season.
Simon, based in Indianapolis, is investing a billion dollars this year in new construction and expansion of its existing shopping centers. Simon is the owner of Pasco’s GulfView Square and St. Petersburg’s Tyrone Square Mall. Its outlet mall division, which owns outlet centers in Ellenton and Orlando, is one of three developers at Cypress Creek Town Center.
The others are the Ohio-based Jacobs Group, which has 50 acres of outparcels that will be developed for retail and restaurant uses, and Tampa-based Sierra Properties, the original developer, which still owns the 40-acre parcel closest to the interstate, which is approved for up to two hotels. Sierra Properties also owns 204 acres on the north side of S.R. 56.
The developer has already started building the roads and infrastructure for the northern parcel, which is approved for a mix of commercial space, offices, hotels and hundreds of multifamily residential units.
Bob Sierra said the company is focusing on retail development for the first phase. “We are experiencing considerable interest in our various parcels both on the south and north sides of Highway 56. However, all of these parties require a strict confidential code from us,” he said.
Luxury retailer Saks Inc. announced plans in 2012 to anchor the center with a Saks “Off 5th” outlet store. A typical Simon outlet center would be home to retailers such as Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Coach, J.Crew and Nike.
The project, originally approved in 2004, was mired in legal problems for years. A federal lawsuit that halted construction in 2009 was dismissed in 2013, clearing the way for construction to resume.