Tampa Premium Outlets plan big opening weekend

Tampa Premium Outlets artist rendering. Simon image
Tampa Premium Outlets artist rendering. Simon image

LUTZ, FL, (WFLA) – Nestled right off of I-75 and State Road 56 in Lutz, hundreds of workers are getting ready for a big opening day at Tampa Premium Outlets on Thursday.

Shoppers on the hunt for everything from sensible shoes to silver watches will find it at this outdoor shopping mecca.

“The great thing about value shopping is that it really is a sport. They see things for 25% to 65% off and they just love that bargain!” said Lee Morris of Simon Malls.

Those in Pasco County don’t see this 441,000 square foot mall as just a place to shop, but as an international destination for those visiting the area.

Tampa Premium outlet mall opens Thursday,
Tampa Premium outlet mall opens Thursday,

“When an international tourist comes to visit us, they come with an overnight bag and no luggage. They shop, they buy luggage, they fill it up and they go home,” said Ed Caum of Visit Pasco.

It also marks a place of employment for hundreds, not only for those inside the stores, but for those workers who helped build them- along with 2,000 parking spaces.

“It created 500 or so construction jobs and 800 full and part time positions once the center is open,” said Morris.

A trip to the mall might take a slightly negative toll on your bank account, but this new outlet center is expected to have a positive one on Tampa Bay.

The grand opening hours will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. The Tampa Premium Outlets plan to have 90 stores opening. See a full list here.

Grand opening fireworks are planned for Friday, October 30th at 9 p.m. Live music will take place on the main stage at Lagoon Court throughout the day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Kids can enjoy strolling entertainment as you shop including slit walkers, face painters and a magician.

SLIDESHOW: CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS

The Outlets say there will be prizes such as gift cards and handbags given away from the different outlet stores ranging from a $150-$450 value on Thursday and Friday. A number of outlet stores will have in-store events during the grand opening celebration, too.

There will also be a special appearance by Bethenny Frankel. Shoppers can meet the TV personality, best selling author and Skinnygirl founder at the outlets on Saturday, October 31st in the VIP Shopper Club Lounge.

See a full schedule and get all the details on the Tampa Premium Outlets grand opening here.

Traffic concern

Some residents are concerned the mall will increase traffic. Paige Soares commutes in the area. She said it’s tough getting onto I-75 during rush hour. It’s even worse during the holidays, said Soares, who plans to shop at the mall.

“It kind of stinks because when we moved over here it was all cows and farmlands.  So it was easy and fast to go anywhere, so it’s a little less desirable but I guess it has it’s perks,” she said.

Another commuter is also concerned.

“I live going this way and the only way I can make a left on the road is to all the way up to the intersection where the mall is and make a left, so I’m not sure I’ll get home at a decent time, but I hear it’s supposed to be good for the economy and they’re excited about it so, so be it,” Courtney Jones said.

Mall employee Valentina Cardona plans to leave early. She anticipates madness. “I anticipate that there’s gonna be a lot of back up. There’s definitely gonna be. If you’re trying to get to the mall early, especially if you work there, you’re gonna have to (leave) 30 to an hour before you head into work,” Cardona said.

Tampa Premium Outlets artist rendering. Simon image
Tampa Premium Outlets artist rendering. Simon image
Tampa Premium Outlets artist rendering. Simon image
Tampa Premium Outlets artist rendering. Simon image

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