This morning, a few staffers from AshevilleBlog got a behind the scenes tour of the construction happening at Asheville Outlets. The outlets are set to open May 1st, and the amount of work being done on the property is amazing. A total of 75 stores will be housed at the outlets, with 55 of them ready to shop at during the grand opening. In addition to the bigger department type outlets, 10 retail merchandising units will be open – these are small, local businesses selling from kiosks.
While the overall tone of excitement surrounding the outlets opening continues to build, some locals remain concerned about the impact of the new mall. With Asheville being known for local businesses, can bigger chain stores bring a positive influence to the area? Concerned citizens will like to know that Asheville Outlets will add $8.3 million a year in tax revenue, at both state and local levels. Additionally, during construction phase over 1,000 jobs have been created during the 5 month demolition and 11 month Phase 1 build. Once Asheville Outlets is open, 800-1,000 people will be employed, working both part and full time positions.
We were curious to look at how drastically the structure has changed since demolition began. Asheville Outlets has made a point to incorporate some of the old Biltmore Square Mall structures, and has made an effort to preserve or relocate plants and trees that were on the property. Upwards of 280 new trees have been saved, and when completed, 790 new trees will be planted alongside of 4,800 shrubs and 12,400 groundcover plantings.
One thing we were excited to learn is that Asheville Outlets is going to be dog friendly. There will be a doggie watering fountain, way station, clean up area, and maintained patch of grass specifically for four legged shoppers. While not all stores will allow canines inside, it is estimated that a large number of stores will allow patrons and their dogs. Each retail location will be clearly marked with their pet policy. While you are shopping with your friends (dogs and humans alike), take advantage of the cyber-bar and free Wifi that will be in the ample food court. Comfortable seating, including soft couches, will provide over 350 seats so that you will not have to worry about saving space for your group.
Check out our gallery of exclusive photos from today’s tour of the outlets. Are you ready to shop?