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Eagan EDA Gives Preliminary Go-Ahead to Outlet Mall

The open-air outlet mall would house as many as 100 tenants on 35 acres of property in the Cedar Grove Redevelopment Area.

Paragon Outlet Partners LLC. got a warm reception from the Eagan Economic Development Authority on Tuesday night, as

If Paragon secures the necessary approvals from city officials, the company plans to construct between 90-100 high-end outlet stores, including one or two 25,000-square-foot anchor stores, in an open-air, pedestrian-friendly mall that would rival the Albertville outlet center in sheer size. The complex would be located on a 35-acre parcel off Cedar Grove Parkway in Eagan's Cedar Grove Redevelopment Area.

Eagan City Councilors, acting in the capacity of the Economic Development Authority, peppered Paragon representatives with questions concerning the parking, green space and the viability of an outdoor-style mall in cold climates. In the end, the EDA voted unanimously to approve the company's preliminary concept plan.

"From my perspective, I'm encouraged by the project. I think it takes very good advantage of the assets of the Cedar Grove location,” Mayor Mike Maguire said during the council meeting. “I think it also has the potential to put Eagan on a map in a different way and it demonstrates the economic diversity of the city that we strive for."

Paragon representatives Kelvin Antill and Salem LaHood described the proposed outlet center as a locus for destination outlet stores that would draw from the wider region.

Traditionally, similar outlet centers were built outside of metro areas, Antill said, referencing Albertville and the Medford outlet mall. But industry trends have pushed them closer to large population centers.

"The outlet industry is very hot, it’s been very successful over the last four to five years," Antill said.

Based on previous projects, Paragon's preliminary investment could total as much as $100 million. The project could generate as many as 400 construction jobs and 1,500 to 2,000 retail jobs, Paragon representatives said during the meeting.

The proposed outlet center is the second large-scale retail project in development for Eagan. Last month, .

Baltimore-based Paragon views CSM's project as "complementary" to its own proposed outlet center, LaHood said after the meeting.

Before Paragon breaks ground, the project will still have to go through the city's extensive approval process, city officials said in a press release. That approval process may take 12-18 months to complete, while construction of the facility could take an additional 15 months to complete, according to the press release.

The EDA, which currently holds the 35-acre site, would likely sell the property to Paragon. In the short term, however, city officials may negotiate with the company to give it legal control of the land so the company may begin its own marketing efforts, city spokesperson Tom Garrison said.

The project may require the city to realign roads and move an existing Xcel Energy gas pipeline. The cost to move the pipeline alone may be as much as $1.2 million, according to city officials. Satellite sites around the mall would be left open for future commercial development.

The city may pursue plans for a three-acree park on the south side of Cedar Grove Parkway in conjunction with the mall development—a point championed by Councilor Paul Bakken, who cited previous promises made to local residents for a park in the area.

"I like the concept, I think it would attract a lot of businesses, but my focus here is to make sure we have our architectural standards met in this area," Councilor Cyndee Fields said during the meeting. "I love the idea, I’ve always been a big supporter of retail; we need it."

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