National Harbor outlet center moves forward
Examiner Staff Writer
A new outlet mall at National Harbor — the first such discount destination inside the Capital Beltway — moved closer to reality Thursday as the Prince George’s County Planning Board approved a site plan for the center.
The Peterson Cos.’ proposal to bring Tanger Outlets to a 40-acre site at the National Harbor had to overcome a variety of objections, ranging from traffic concerns to historical preservation issues, from local residents.
But after a six-hour hearing, the Planning Board voted unanimously in favor of the conceptual site plan, which allows developers to move toward gaining full approval of the $100 million outlet mall this summer, according to Taylor Chess, senior vice president of retail for Peterson Cos.
If full approval is gained from the Planning Board and the county’s District Council by June, the outlets could be open by summer 2013, Chess said.
“The community has been screaming for fashion retail for a long time, prior to National Harbor, even,” he said. “There’s always been a statement that this county is underserved in the way of quality fashion retail, and that’s what this outlet center will provide.”
The site plan already cleared a major hurdle last week, when the Prince George’s County Historic Preservation Commission voted to lift environmental restrictions that would have protected the 2.7-acre Salubria Plantation, the home of a former slave owner who later spoke in favor of abolishing slavery.
Some landmarks at the site will be removed for construction of the outlet mall, but developers agreed to incorporate historical landmarks memorializing the plantation.
Commissioner Dorothy Bailey said the Planning Board would be watching Peterson closely to see how the historic preservation efforts progress.
Aubrey Thagard, the county assistant deputy chief administrative officer for economic development, said the outlet mall achieves one of County Executive Rushern Baker’s top priorities — increasing the county’s commercial tax base.
“It’s incredible that a county of this size still does not have some of the type of retail amenities that some of our neighbors have long had,” Thagard said. “This puts out a signal that we’re looking for the type of quality retail this county deserves.”