Outlet mall planned for Sixes Road

May 30, 2008
Cherokee Ledger News
Carolyn Mathews

Outlet mall planned for Sixes Road

A 120-store outlet mall is planned for Sixes Road near the intersection of Interstate 575.

Prime Outlets – Holly Springs is planning a 450,000-square-foot fashion outlet, and is projected to open near the end of 2010, according to the developer, Prime Retail. The firm already operates an outlet mall in Calhoun, halfway between Atlanta and Chattanooga on Interstate 75, Exit 312.

The proposal came up for discussion by the Cherokee County Commission May 20, the day after plans for the development were introduced by the company at the Council of Shopping Centers RECon meeting in Las Vegas. The estimated $120-million project is expected to bring 2,000 new jobs to Cherokee.

“I’ve known it was in the works for over a year,” Cherokee County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens (Left) said. “I’ve been waiting for it to be public. This is absolutely terrific, both for the job creation and for the destination it creates.”

Ahrens said he expects the developer to do a quality job, and he predicted the outlet would complement The Avenue development by Cousins Properties at Rope Mill Road.

“This is positive for the city, county and community as a whole,” said Holly Springs Mayor Tim Downing (Below Right). “Cherokee is in dire need of commercial development, and the architectural guidelines put on this property when it was zoned ensure that it will be beautiful.”

Downing said zoning requirements call for the development to fall in with the theme of the nearby historic mill.

Prime Retail said the $120-million project is in the works because of the growing population and need for outlet shopping in the area.

“We love the demographics and growth of the whole Atlanta metro area,” said Senior Vice President of Development Giancarlo Filartiga.

Filartiga said the fashion outlet will have a village-type feel, newer in style than the Calhoun outlet.

“Newer outlets have a theme and look like town centers,” he said. “We will talk with the city of Holly Springs about the direction they want to go.”

Typical tenants for Prime Outlets include BCBG Max Azria, Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth and Neiman Marcus Last Call, Filartiga said. He noted that specific tenants for the mall have not been identified, and that it has not yet been determined if the fashion outlet will be anchored by “luxury” tenants or by brand stores.

“We’re off and running with the project now, though,” Filartiga said.

Jeff Chattin, the owner of most of the land Prime Retail has under contract, at the southwest corner of the Sixes Road-Interstate 575 interchange, said plans are still very preliminary.

“We will know a lot more in about six months,” he said.  Chattin’s land is in the city of Holly Springs and already has appropriate commercial zoning, but there are questions regarding Sixes Road in reference to its annexation status.

Parts of Sixes Road that have been inside the Holly Springs city limits since 1988 were ruled to have been annexed under an improper procedure and have been reverted to unincorporated county property under a May 8 ruling by Cherokee County Superior Court Judge Jackson Harris. Holly Springs has said it likely will appeal the decision.

“The road is part of the issue right now,” said Post 4 Commissioner Derek Good, about finalization of plans for the outlet. “Technical legal questions need to be resolved.”

Downing, however, said he does not think the incorporation status of Sixes Road will have any bearing on the project.

The outlet mall would be located in the area represented by Post 3 Commissioner Karen Mahurin.

“I think outlets are certainly economically advantageous for any area to get,” Mahurin said. “But right now my big concern is access. Right now, there’s one way in and one way out and there will be thousands of square feet of stores and hundreds of shoppers. That’s also how everybody on Sixes gets to the highway.”  Mahurin said people who live in the neighboring  Falls of Cherokee subdivision will want to make sure the buffering and access are done correctly. She said a back entrance could possibly be constructed to come out near the proposed Rope Mill Road interchange, but there is a big ravine and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land behind the property that would require extensive permitting to cross.