Allison Hurtado/AFN

Representatives from the Gila River Indian Community and Simon Property Group officially broke ground Tuesday morning on the Phoenix Premium Outlets.

Phase one of the project, which will be located directly adjacent to Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino off Wild Horse Pass Boulevard, will include 360,000 square feet of leasable space, or approximately 90 store fronts. The project is expected to create more than 300 construction jobs over the next year and more than 800 permanent jobs once the center is open. The outlets are expected to generate over $140 million annually in retail sales.

Simon has been looking for a location for its new premium outlets for about 10 years. The company is investing $70 million into the project.

“We feel like this is a nice compliment to complete the picture here at Wild Horse Pass,” said Mark Silvestri, executive vice president of real estate for Premium Outlets. “While there are lots of other shopping centers in this market there really is nothing like a Premium Outlet center here. We have an ownership interest in Arizona Mills and there are other malls here but Premium Outlets is a unique blend of retailers, value and outdoor shopping experiences that hasn’t been offered, till now, in this market.”

Gila River Gov. Greg Mendoza, as well as many Gila River council members, were on hand for the ground breaking.

Barney Enos Junior, District 4 council member and chairperson of the Economic Development Standing Committee, welcomed Simon Property Group to the area, saying with all that Wild Horse Pass offers, the outlets are coming at a good time.

“The Wild Horse Pass Development Authority is committed to providing upscale and memorable experiences to our visitors and guests,” he said. “The Phoenix Premium Outlets will continue that tradition by providing guests the opportunity to shop in what will come to be an impressive array of retailers and fashion designers, all in an upscale atmosphere on what is probably the best piece of land in the world.”

Tuesday’s groundbreaking marked the beginning of construction on the project. The outlets are expected to be opened by spring of 2013. A list of possible merchants will be released closer to the grand opening.

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