New England Development, announced his intention to erect a 325,000-square-foot Outlet of Michigan retail center.
The huge retail venture will be located just off I-94 in the town of Romulus close to the Detroit Metro Airport. Based on the open-air concept of other nearby outlet mall complexes like Birch Run Premium Outlet Mall, Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills and Tanger Outlets at Howell, the center capitalizes on two shopper preferences: to shop at outlet stores rather than pay full retail prices and to avoid indoor structures where you have to walk long corridors to get to the two or three shops you want. With the open-air concept shoppers can view the shops in this new seventy-five-store mall from their cars and plot their shopping route from there.
Scheduled to open in 2016, Outlets of Michigan is capitalizing on its location to bring in local and tourist shoppers. Dougass Karp, the executive vice president of NewEngland Development has noted that the location is “an ideal market”. He cited as pluses the new mall’s location across from Detroit Metro Airport, proximity to the major route between Detroit and Chicago and the fact that Outlets of Michigan will be closer to the Canadian border than its chief competition, Birch Run, which draws Canadian cross-border shoppers.
His optimism may be misplaced however. Because of increasing prices on American gas and the devaluation of the Canadian dollar, there are fewer cross-border shoppers. Increased jet fuel costs have raised flight cost and lessened airport traffic. Finally, the rapidly rising e-commerce market has resulted in many bargain hunters shopping online. All three trends show no sign of decreasing. Thus, Outlets of Michigan may not turn out to have the appeal New England Development hopes for.