Developers for a proposed multi-million dollar outlet mall introduced themselves to county and city officials last week while also unveiling the mall's design.
The announcement comes less than one month after Nueces County Commissioners approved the sale of 4.26 acres of fairgrounds property to San Antonio-based developer, Dolphin Ventures I, LLC for $215,130. The development group is made up of three partners who have more than 35 years of outlet center development, leasing, marketing and management experience.
The group currently has spent more than $2.5 million for about 50 acres to house its proposed 315,000-square-foot outlet mall, The Outlets at Corpus Christi Bay, which will have 60 to 80 retail stores. This will be the first of a two-phase project, developers said, and will cost about $60 million.
The design shown at last week's press conference was done by BaSuhail Architects based out of Maryland. Sami M. BaSuhail said the goal was to capture the look and feel of the South Texas culture.
"It is a re-creation of a Southwestern feel in the use of colors and texture," BaSuhail said. "Our goal was to create an exciting design for the shopper. We want it to be successful and attractive because we want people to stay and shop."
Peter Edelmann, president of EuroWest Properties in Vermont, said he is pleased that the public reaction to the project thus far seems to be positive.
"The response has been very, very supportive," Edelmann said. "It's very nice."
The positive reaction may come from the effect the multi-million dollar project could have on Robstown. After the first phase of construction is completed, the outlet mall is expected to generate about $2 million annually in sales tax revenue for the city of Robstown.
That number could balloon to about $3.5 million after the completion of the second phase of the project, which is expected to add an additional 300,000 square feet of retail space to the outlet mall.
In addition, developers said the first phase of the project will result in about 160 full-time positions and more than 500 part-time positions. Developers said they expect a total of 295 full-time jobs and more than 900 part-time jobs after the second phase is completed. It is also expected to generate a projected 4 to 5 million shopping visits a year.
Lisa Quier Wagner, president of Quier Target Marketing Inc. in Maryland, said there has been interest from potential tenants, but it is too soon to reveal them.
"Until we get to opening these stores, we can't tell their names," Wagner said. "There have been cases where department stores have exerted pressure on a brand and they were not able to open."
However, whether the project actually gets done rests on the shoulders of the Robstown City Council. The next step for developers will be to work with the city council to negotiate potential tax incentives.
Mayor Rodrigo Ramon Jr. said the city has not formally sat down with the developers to begin negotiations yet.
"We're planning on it," Ramon said. "We'll be working together with Dolphin Ventures to develop a financial plan that will be a 'win-win' for everyone."
A Feb. 9 planning meeting has been tentatively scheduled for the city council to discuss its options once negotiations begin with the developer.
Ramon said that no matter what, though, the city will do what is necessary to ensure the project is completed.
"It is extremely important because what it is going to do for the community is improve the quality of life," Ramon said. "It is going to make this area a better place to live."