EXTREME MAKEOVER - Upscale Transformation of Tanger Outlet Center 1 Now Underway
Author: Linda S. Hopkins
If you’ve ever watched the popular television series, Extreme Makeover, you know that transformation isn’t a pretty process. Currently in its ugly duckling phase, like a lucky makeover candidate, Tanger Outlet Center 1 is undergoing a series of radical procedures with the promise to re-emerge as a swan next spring. Building demolition, which began in early April, 2010, is the first phase of the $50 million redevelopment project which will feature 176,000 square feet of retail space plus four outparcels featuring national retailers.
According to LaDonna Shamlou, general manager, the plan, which calls for a total demolition of the existing buildings and the subsequent construction of new buildings, will make way for over 20 new brand name and designer outlet stores in addition to the current lineup. “It’s going to be such an asset here. I wish I could talk more about the [new] stores, because it would get people excited,” she said, indicating that lease negotiations are underway with a number of high-end stores.
“We are creating an upscale outlet shopping environment that will appeal to our sophisticated Hilton Head customers,” said Steven B. Tanger, president and chief executive officer of Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. “When our shoppers tell us what they want, we listen. By combining this important feedback with our company’s creativity and vision, we are able to create major outlet shopping attractions that are unique and capture the imagination and passion of our shoppers,” he added.
Reiterating the value of customer input, Shamlou urges all shoppers to fill out comment cards available throughout both Tanger Outlet centers. (During the renovation, pick one up at Tanger Outlet 2 and let your voice be heard.)
Tanger Outlet Center 1 is now closed, and some stores, including J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, the Children’s Place, Oops! Outlet, Lane Bryant and Kitchen Collection have temporarily relocated to the Mall at Shelter Cove for the duration of the construction period. Those stores are expected to return to Tanger Outlet 1 when the center reopens next spring. Other stores, including Gold Toe and Jockey, have relocated to separate locations in Bluffton and have indicated that they also intend to return to Tanger.
AN IMPROVED SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
While the building plans naturally call for a new and improved appearance, according to Shamlou, the renovations are not only cosmetic, but practical. “The new design is more of U-shape where shoppers can start at one end and work their way down to the other. We’ve added in crosswalks for a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere, making it easy for shoppers. They don’t get confused about what they’ve missed. And it’s great for the stores because everybody’s front and forward,” she said.
While Shamlou is not at liberty to divulge the names of restaurants currently vying for space at Tanger 1, Beaufort County documents indicate that Long Horn, Olive Garden and Panera Bread are currently in the permitting process.
“The addition of the restaurants will be a wonderful thing,” said Shamlou. “It gives the ability to shop, stop and eat and enjoy a day here at Tanger.”
In addition to the new stores, restaurants and more customer-friendly layout, the redevelopment is being designed as a “Go Green” project. “We are proud that the Tanger center will be the only LEED Certified “green” shopping center in Beaufort County,” said Shamlou. The LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance “green” buildings.
According to Shamlou, shoppers may or may not see the difference. “It’s more in how it’s built and the materials used. It may not be noticeable to the eye,” she said.
So why should you care? According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USBC), buildings are responsible for 40 percent of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and more than 70 percent of the nation’s electricity use. Constructing new buildings to LEED standards is an integral part of reducing our nation’s overall energy use, meaning less dependence on imported petroleum products. Building green is also important to the protection of ecosystems, to maintain safe air and water quality, and to conserve renewable and nonrenewable natural resources.
A COMMUNITY STAR
The Tanger Outlet Center, located in Bluffton, is an asset to Hilton Head Island and the surrounding community, providing a significant boost to the area’s local economy. Purchased by Tanger in December 2003, the Tanger Outlet Center 1 (built in 1987) and Tanger Outlet Center 2 attract nearly 6 million brand name outlet bargain hunters each year, generating more than $6 million in annual state sales tax revenue and another $434,000 each year in local property tax revenue. With South Carolina’s unemployment rate hovering at more than 10 percent in 2010, the 800 full- and part-time retail sales and management positions at Tanger Outlets are also very important to area residents.
Tanger is proud of its community involvement as well. Tanger has been a leader in the fight against breast cancer in the Lowcountry by raising and donating nearly $80,000 to Keyserling Cancer Center over the past five years. Tanger has also helped area children and schools to succeed by donating thousands of dollars to purchase books, school supplies and equipment. In addition, Tanger will be a sponsor of the 2010 Verizon Heritage Golf Tournament, an important economic stimulus for the Hilton Head region.
According to Shamlou, the renovation of Tanger Outlet Center 1 has been planned since 2005, but the approval process has been complex and lengthy. “We’ve invested a lot of time and effort in this,” she said.
Now that the bulldozers are rolling, expect to see fast progress. “We plan to reopen in spring of 2011; that’s quite a quick turnaround,” said Shamlou. “We want to do it quickly to get jobs filled and to offer this gorgeous, exciting center to our shoppers.”
Tanger Outlet Centers1 and 2 are located at 1414 Fording Island Rd. in Bluffton. Hours of operation are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. For special offers, coupons and a printable store directory and map, visit tangeroutlet.com/hiltonhead. For more information, call (843) 837-4339.