Rockford Outlet Mall Moving Ahead

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

Remember those plans to bring a 400,000 square foot outlet mall to I-90 and Riverside in Rockford? Well prepare to pick up your shopping bags, because a new business partnership is moving the seemingly stalled project along.
Construction is already underway laying the foundation for the massive outlet mall that's set to open next fall. And whether you're a shopaholic, or shopping for a job, there's plenty to look forward to.
The development groups Land Capital and Ariel Preferred Retail announced Thursday they bought the land from masterplanners Landmark Development to create the Preferred Outlets at Rockford.
Ariel's director says they have great interest from stores. He won't say which ones yet, but other outlets they own include shops like Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers and Calvin Klein. The mall will open in two phases, with 80 retail tenants moving in next fall. By a year later, there should be a total of 100 to 120 tenants.
"On average each store will have four or five employees. Multiply that by 100 or 120, you're talking 500 new jobs. And then some of the stores will have substantially higher," says Don Chapman, Managing Director of Operations and Development for Ariel Preferred Capital Group.
Chapman also expects the mall will bring in around 100 million dollars a year in sales. He says the location is ideal since it's close to the highway and will attract traffic going to and from Wisconsin. It's also in the area where Rick Nielsen plans to build his guitar museum, restaurant and lounge Rick's Place. So Rockford can hope for a major tourism boost from the two projects.
The local developer, First Rockford Group is also in the mall market right now. They want to construct a higher end lifestyle mall on Perryville and Rote Roads. The group's leader says right now they're negotiating with an anchor tenant and if that goes through they should start building by next summer.


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