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Neighbors prepare for Charlotte outlet mall

By Elisabeth Arriero
earriero@charlotteobserver.com

As construction on Charlotte’s first outlet mall enters its final months, residents in Steele Creek’s Berewick community have mixed feelings about the large retail center being developed nearby.

Some are excited about the prospect of walking to a major shopping venue. Others are concerned about traffic congestion ruining their suburban pace.

Charlotte Premium Outlets is expected to open July 31, according to Simon Property Group and Tanger Factory Outlet Centers. They expect the mall, which has just under 400,000 square feet, to generate $140 million worth of annual sales.

Ursula Pizarro, 46, said that while she is not looking forward to more cars in the area, she thinks it will be a great amenity for her teenage children.

They’ll be able to walk to the mall without needing her to drive them. And when they’re ready to get an after-//school job, the mall will provide many opportunities.

The outlet mall is expected to feature 100 stores and hire 900 employees, starting with a job fair from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 2 at the Sheraton Airport hotel. Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth will be the biggest tenant at the new mall. Other stores expected to join it include Adidas, American Eagle, Coach, Fossil, Kate Spade New York, Kay Jewelers, Wet Seal and Wilson’s Leather.

“But I still have an issue with the traffic and the noise,” Pizarro said. “I would not have bought a house next to a mall.”

Berewick resident Adrian Stiefel, 33, said he’s also concerned about traffic and hopes that developers will adequately plan for that. The developers are building more road lanes and street signals around the mall.

Stiefel added that because shoppers won’t be able to cut through the neighborhood, he hopes that traffic will not impact neighborhood roads.

Meanwhile, Cassandra Lee, 29, said she is thrilled about the new outlets. It’s one of the reasons she chose to purchase a Berewick home, which they moved into last fall.

“We’re not city people, but we need to be close to civilization,” she said.

Lee said that while she enjoys shopping at the nearby RiverGate Shopping Center, she is looking forward to being able to walk to stores.

Helen Honeycutt, a real estate agent for RE/MAX Executive Realty who sells new homes in the neighborhood, said the outlet mall has served as an incentive to invest in Berewick and nearby communities.

She said there are 35 active listings in the Berewick community as well as 33 homes under contract. She added that 29 have been sold year to date.

“It makes the neighborhood more attractive,” she said. “The outlets up at Concord Mills really attracted a lot of people, and I’m really hoping the outlets here will do the same thing.”

Staff writer Ely Portillo contributed

Arriero: 704-358-5945; Twitter: @earriero
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