Rendering of Tanger Outlets Fort Worth

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. plans to build a 355,000-square-foot outlet center neighboring the Texas Motor Speedway and sees “tremendous” room for expansion around the country.

“We are not starting construction until we have 60 percent of the space committed. We are close to it,” Steven B. Tanger, president and chief executive officer of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, told WWD. “We intend to break ground before the end of the year and will take about a year to build. We are conservative developers. We don’t build on speculation.”

The center, to be called Tanger Outlets Fort Worth, has already leased space to Nike, Levi’s, Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, Express, Skechers, Carter’s and OshKosh, and is negotiating leases with numerous other designer brands and retailers. A total of 70 to 80 outlets will be housed in the center.

The center will be situated in the Fine Line Diversified Development’s Champions Circle, a 279-acre mixed-use development adjacent to the Texas Motor Speedway. It expects to draw shoppers primarily from the greater Fort Worth, Denton and adjacent metro areas.

Tanger said his company has grown its footprint by 17 percent over the last two years, and that there are only 75 million square feet of outlet space in the U.S., compared to one billion square feet of mall space. “There’s tremendous room for growth,” Tanger said.

Last year, the company opened four centers in Grand Rapids, Mich.; Savannah, Ga., and Foxwoods in Connecticut and Memphis. This year, Tanger will open centers in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Columbus, Ohio.

While many shopping centers are said to be losing traffic, according to Tanger, “Our traffic in January, February and the first couple of [days] in March has been up pretty significantly, probably 9 percent in February. The trend continued into the first two weeks in March.”

Asked why his traffic is up, Tanger replied, “In good times, people love a bargain. In tough times, they need a bargain.”

“Tanger Outlets is the company to get this project done and executed at a superior level of quality. They create lifestyle destination centers that not only provide a first-class retail experience but also celebrate the culture of the communities in which they operate,” said Bill Boecker, president and ceo of Fine Line Diversified Development.

In addition to neighboring the Texas Motor Speedway, Tanger pointed out that the center will be a short drive to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and to downtown Fort Worth.

The center is expected to create more than 400 full- and part-time jobs during the construction and more than 900 full- and part-time retail jobs once it opens.

Champions Circle is undergoing capital improvements including adding housing, additional retail and road extensions.

Eddie Gossage, president of the Texas Motor Speedway, said: “Each year we attract more than a million racing enthusiasts and they will now have many options for additional shopping and entertainment during their stay. This development will be a huge boon for the Fort Worth area and its residents.”

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, a publicly traded REIT based in Greensboro, N.C., operates and owns, or has ownership interest in, 42 upscale outlet shopping centers, aside from the two additional centers under construction.