Outlets at Tejon 'on track' for August opening

Outlets at Tejon 'on track' for August opening

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Tejon Ranch officials say they're on track for opening the outlet stores under construction at the base of the Grapevine. And, once the center is open, shoppers will have a "race track" of stores.

Spokesman Hugh McMahon said that opening is now set for Aug. 7, just under six months away.

"It's moving along on schedule," McMahon told Eyewitness News on Wednesday. He's the vice president of commercial and industrial real estate for Tejon Ranch. He was at the building site, along with a big crew of construction workers.

The Outlets at Tejon Ranch are going up just east of Interstate 5, near the Highway 99 junction. Metal structures can be seen from the freeway, along with a very big crane. A tour inside the construction site gave Eyewitness News a better view of the design.

"It's what's termed a 'race track,' and it's really the modern interpretation of an outlet center," McMahon said. The big project will have 320,000 square feet of retail space and cover a total area of 43 acres.

Big parking lots will ring the outer area, and the oval race track of stores will be inside.

"You can start at one end, and you make your way around, and you can hit all the shops," McMahon said. "Make a lap that's three or four hours, and get all your shopping done."

He said the upscale shopping experience will include fancy restrooms and a food court that's "above and beyond."

"The architecture is old California, Spanish mission style," Tejon spokesman Barry Zoeller said. He walked through the construction site, pointing out where some of the stores will go.

"This building at the end of the walkway here is the building that'll house H&M," he said. Zoeller said that popular store will be the biggest site in the center.

And, while the design of The Outlets at Tejon Ranch is the newest, spokesmen said the location follows tradition.

"You're located between what we call a 'dumbbell.' You're between two large markets," McMahon said. He said that's the south San Joaquin Valley, and particularly Bakersfield, to the north. And, at the other end, Valencia and the north end of Los Angeles. He said outlet shoppers will come from both those areas, plus a lot more from the nearby freeway.

"At the same time, you have 140,000 vehicles driving by here every day," McMahon said.

Zoeller said the outlets expect to see some 11 million customers a year.

When it comes to economic impacts, Tejon said the construction work is providing a lot of jobs.

"You probably see out here today between 200 and 300 people," McMahon said. "It'll probably increase to about 400 when things get really hot and heavy with turning over to the tenants."

And, he predicted once the stores are open, some 1,000 people will be employed there.

"We're in the South Valley, it's an area that's been heavily impacted with the economy," McMahon said. "We think the idea of bringing 1,000 jobs is just tremendous."

Zoeller said the new outlet stores sit on the site of the old Rose Station on Tejon Ranch from about the 1860s. He said that included a stage coach stop, general store, post office and boarding house. In honor of the history of the location and the ranch, the outlet center will also include a replica of the Beale Clock Tower.

Zoeller also said the outlet center is a $90 million project.

A total of more than 70 stores are slated to go into the center. So far, about 30 have been announced. That includes the Pottery Barn Outlet, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Banana Republic. But, that leaves another 40 that the company still hasn't revealed. Full store roster >>

"We'll be releasing (more store names) over time," McMahon promised. "We want to keep that momentum building. You're probably going to hear something in another week or two about some additional tenants, and we'll keep rolling it out as we get closer to the opening."