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Hundreds Attend Tanger Outlets National Harbor Groundbreaking

Gale Horton Gay | 12/5/2012, 11:59 a.m.

80 Outlet Stores Coming to Prince George's County

When is a groundbreaking more like New York Fashion Week? When, Tanger Outlets teams up with The Peterson Companies to bring shopping to Prince George's County.

The highly anticipated groundbreaking of the first Tanger Outlet center to come to Prince George's County took place on Nov. 29 at an event hailed as a celebration and which included a marching band, live blue crabs and 10 models strutting down a makeshift runway.

"At last, at last, at last," said Maryland delegate Jay Walker of the 26th District. He praised Milt Peterson, chairman of The Peterson Companies, co-developer of the Tanger Outlets National Harbor project, as "putting southern Prince George's County on the map."

The 340,000-square-foot outlet center, located off Oxon Hill Road, is expected to open in time for the 2013 Christmas shopping season and is expected to feature 80 "leading brand name and designer outlet stores" such as Calvin Klein, H&M, American Eagle Outfitters, Tommy Hilfiger, Banana Republic Factory Store, White House Black Market Outlet, Chico's Outlet and Le Creuset Outlet.

Walker presented Steven B. Tanger, president and chief executive officer of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc., with a welcome-to-Maryland gift - a silver bucket of live Maryland blue crabs.

Tanger playfully narrated a mini-fashion show with models wearing outfits from J. Crew, Aeropostale, H&M, Columbia Sportswear, Brooks Brothers and others with comments such as "Yeah, I like that" and "We'll be taking orders as you leave."

He also made a commitment to the nearly 300-member audience.

"I promise you, you won't be disappointed, and I promise you, you are going to spend a lot of money," said Tanger.

The outlet is described as having "a modern design with a pedestrian friendly layout that will function as an open-air mall with both covered and uncovered landscaped courtyards and park-like settings throughout the complex."

This project represents a private investment of almost $100 million. It's one of the largest economic development projects in the county and is expected to create an estimated 600 construction jobs and approximately 1,000 full- and part-time retail jobs upon completion.

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, which is headquartered in North Carolina, operates, owns or has an ownership interest in 43 outlet shopping centers in 26 states and in Canada.

The outlet at National Harbor will be co-owned by Tanger's and Peterson's companies.

Peterson spoke about earning the community's trust, the difficult economic times for his industry since 2008 and the support his company has received from local officials and the community.

"I see this as a celebration," said Peterson.

Rushern Baker III, Prince George's county executive, emphasized that the outlet is expected to generate $6.5 million dollars in annual sales tax revenue for the county and the state.

"For the last two years I have gone around the county and the state telling anybody who will listen to me that Prince George's County is the economic engine of this state," said Baker. "This is another spoke in that wheel. This right here is what's going to grow Prince George's County and what's going to grow the state. We are finally beginning to see our future."

He added jokingly that it would be "nice if we had a nice casino right over there," which drew enthusiastic applause.

District 8 Prince George's County Councilman Obie Patterson said the development is "long overdue."

Following formal remarks, county and state officials joined the executives and donned red hard hats and used gold-tone shovels to ceremonially break ground.

Angela Wright, vice president of marketing and communications for the Prince George's County Economic Development Corp., said the development is likely to be a "magnet," attracting other businesses.

"It is clearly needed," said Wright. "Everybody talks about the need for more upscale retail."

At a post-groundbreaking luncheon at The Sunset Room by Wolfgang Puck at National Harbor, Fort Washington resident Marilyn Chatham said she was pleased with the development and the wealth of shopping opportunities it will bring as well as the possibility of property value increases.

"I am excited about it," said Chatham. "I was very disappointed when I moved here. I always had to go to Virginia to go shopping."