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Tanger Unveils Plan for Foxwoods Mall

The 312,000-square-foot center in Mashantucket, Conn., is expected to open in time for the holidays in 2013.

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. has revealed plans to build, manage and own a 312,000-square-foot mall at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Conn., on the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation.

Tanger’s partner is Gordon Group Holdings, which was involved in leasing and development at The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas and Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. The center is expected to open in time for the holidays in 2013.

Foxwoods, the largest casino complex in the U.S. in terms of gaming square footage, attracts about 16 million visitors each year and an average of more than 40,000 a day. But the casino’s recent history has been troubled. Foxwoods is restructuring debt of about $2.3 billion, a result of borrowing too heavily and expanding unwisely.

“Foxwoods is an opportunity to connect with one of the highest and most popular resort casinos in the world,” said Steven Tanger, president and chief executive officer of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers. “It’s a combination of entertainment for the nongambling spouse and providing a great family opportunity to have some fun.”

The Tanger Outlet at Foxwoods will connect the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino and the Grand Pequot Casino Hotel. The mall will be visible from the two main entrances of the Foxwoods Resort Casino and accessible from the MGM Grand and Grand Pequot casino floors.

Outlet centers have been thriving during the recession, as some traditional full-price malls have been struggling. “In good times, people like a bargain, and in tough times people need a bargain,” said Tanger. Meanwhile, casino shopping centers, such as the Forum Shops at Caesars, do about $1,300 a square foot in sales, among the highest in the country.

Tanger last year acquired Atlantic City Outlets The Walk, which is within walking distance of several casinos. Rebranded Tanger Outlets The Walk, tenants include Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory, Michael Kors, Coach Factory and Chico’s Outlet.

Tanger declined to reveal names of potential tenants of the Foxwoods center, saying, “It will be a mix of designers and upscale brand-name manufacturers. Reaction from the tenant community has been very [positive].”

Tanger, whose centers historically have averaged 97 percent outlet tenants, said outlet malls have been moving closer and closer to regional malls.

“We’re very much in favor of regional malls being successful and department stores being successful, because it helps build awareness and underlines the value of outlet stores,” he said.