Monday, February 26, 2024

Hard hat tour showcases the look and feel of Norfolk’s first outlet mall

NORFOLK — With just three weeks before the grand opening of Norfolk Premium Outlets on June 29, representatives from Simon Property Group showcased amenities and the projected atmosphere during a hard hat tour Thursday.

With a contemporary twist on colonial architecture, visitors traveling to the range of stores will get a “beachy feel” on storefront finishes as developers look to pay homage to its new home, according to Kathy Strauss, Director of Marketing and Business Development.

“We’re in a transitional space between the colonial district and the Oceanfront, so we wanted to make sure that it look like all of the pieces of our community,” Strauss said.

Along with the architectural influences, Strauss added, the outlet will also contain various pieces of commissioned artwork including sculptures, paintings throughout and images of mermaids sprinkled around the facilities as an homage to Norfolk.

Along with the extensive list of retailers like Armani Exchange, Calvin Klein, Express Factory Outlet opening their doors, patrons who are not looking to shop or want to take a breather will have plenty of space to do so with a view to go with it.

According to Scott Richardson, vice president of development, Market Hall — the food court area — will house indoor and outdoor seating neighboring an elevated gazebo and Lake Wright.

“We really thought long and hard about this location,” Richardson said. “The Market Hall had evolved in the planning decisions, and we really felt it was important to use the lake as the amenity.”

The facility, which will also house the guest service center for visitor’s with questions, has an intentionally open feel to it with a wall of large windows facing the lake.

Along with the view from the food court, Richardson added, patrons will also have access to a walking trail around Lake Wright that contractors will install. The walking trail will cover the perimeter of the lake while also leading visitors to a park that developers converted from a golf course.

Located just off I-64 on Northampton Boulevard, the project aims to draw in residents and non-residents in a high traffic area, while adding a level of convenience for shoppers who would otherwise have to travel to Williamsburg.

While the Simon Property Group also owns the Williamsburg Premium Outlets, the decision to open another location was an opportunity to serve a larger market.

“Yes there will be some overlap, but there will be some more unique retailers that are here that are not in Williamsburg,” Richardson said. “Even though Williamsburg is perceived as being close in this type of market, with all the waterways, water tends to segment the market, and we truly believe this being a more central opportunity will bring more people that might not want to take the time to go to Williamsburg.”

Les Morris, director of public relations, added that he is confident that both outlet locations will thrive even though they house some of the same stores.

“Throughout our portfolio we have many examples of a new malls coming into an area where there had been a previous outlet before.” Morris said, citing the opening of the Twin Cities Premium Outlets in Eagan Minnesota which was an hour away from Albertville Premium Outlets. “We are not going to cannibalize our market place.”

Jordan can be reached at

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