NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — One year after construction started, the Norfolk Premium Outlets are now open.
City officials and Simon executives cut a ribbon in a ceremony in front of Lake Wright around 10:00 Thursday morning. Celebratory confetti sprayed over the crowd.
“Over two million new dollars will be added to our coffers… Let the shopping begin,” said Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander.
The mall, which is located off Northampton Boulevard, expects to fill entry-level, full and part-time, management and retail positions, according to Stephen Yalof, CEO of Simon Premium Outlets.
“There will be 500 permanent jobs created by the time the center fully opens. Right now, we’re opening 50 stores, but stores will be opening up weekly. As we get to the next, we’re going to do another opening celebration timed to Veterans Day in November,” he said.
The mall boasts a wide range of brand-name stores including Nike, Banana Republic and Steve Madden.
Members of the media toured the mall earlier in June, getting a sneak peek of the mall and its amenities.
Organizers said the mall is a village-style setting with courtyards, fountains, fireplaces and public art.
Shopper Meri Kirby had a few stores to visit on her list.
“I think it’s beautiful. They did an amazing job here. I love the corridor. I think that everyone’s been friendly so far. The employees that they’ve hired are doing really good.”
Christina Bean lined up early and won a free kayak.
“I’m a junkie for this kind of stuff. I love seeing new things and watching it get opened and just the fun and the exciting parts of all of it,” she said.
The shopping center includes a dining hall, a boardwalk and walking trail around Lake Wright. The mall is expected to have close to 90 stores in total — with 50 opening Thursday.
A bus plaza on site will accommodate tourist buses visiting the area. Drivers could see increased traffic and possible delays because of the new mall.
To get there, shoppers coming from the I-64 westbound off-ramp at Northampton Boulevard should come straight down the ramp to the traffic signal. From there, turn right to access the dedicated left turn lane for Premium Outlets Boulevard. Watch for posted signs.
The mall’s grand opening celebration takes place Friday and is expected to include live entertainment and a 1960’s-inspired beach party.
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- Photos: Norfolk Premium Outlets groundbreaking