NIAGARA, N.Y. (WIVB) – A popular shopping center in Niagara Falls is growing.
Construction is underway for an expansion project at the Fashion Outlets. The shopping center will be adding 50 stores, for a total of 200, and expand by about 175,000-square feet.
When it’s finished, officials at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls say the mall will be one of the 20 largest outlet centers in the country.
“It puts everything under one roof, basically. All of the name brands are here, is the main attraction,” said Waterloo, Ontario resident Jeff Palmer.
“I really think it’s growing, I do. I’ve lived in this area all my life and this is probably one of the very first signs of progress that I’ve seen,” said Niagara Falls resident Bob Vitagliano.
Right now, it can be a little tough to visualize the final picture. The expansion is taking the spot of the former Sabre mobile home park. The land was purchased for $4 million, just a small chunk of the $71 million the project is expected to cost.
“I don’t know what stores are coming in here, but it would be awesome to have this expanded because there are a lot of stores here now that I enjoy coming shopping at,” said Mari Warmus from Buffalo.
Outlet officials are staying tight lipped on what stores will be moving in. The company that owns the Fashion Outlets says the expansion is necessary to stay competitive.
In May, just across the border, the Outlet Connection will be complete at Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Outlet Connection at Niagara-on-the-Lake will feature 100 stores, including a Bass Pro Shop, when it opens in May.
Officials say the majority of shoppers at the Fashion Outlets come from Canada. So will Canadians still make the trip when they have an outlet mall of their own?
“It will be just like Targets when they came to Canada. Targets don’t have the quality they have here and the prices are much higher and half the shelves are empty in Canada,” said Ontario resident Karen Schneiders.
“Now the dollar is in the American favor though, so it’s costing us money to come here,” said Palmer. “If the dollar stays where it is, we would stay on the Canadian side probably.”
The expansion is expected to be finished this fall.