Pima County OKs 100-plus store outlet center, wildlife corridor on northwest side

2013-12-20T00:00:00Z Pima County OKs 100-plus store outlet center, wildlife corridor on northwest sideBy Joe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

A Florida-based developer has cleared a major hurdle in its plan to build a massive outlet mall on the Tucson-area’s northwest side.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors has signed off on a development agreement with AWE Talisman, which plans to build an outlet center of more than 100 stores at the southwest corner of the Avra Valley Road and Interstate 10 intersection.

The company has similar outlet malls in Las Vegas, Chicago, Santa Fe, N.M., and Niagara Falls, N.Y. Although a company spokeswoman would not comment on potential stores for the Tucson-area site, AWE Talisman’s Fashion Outlets in Las Vegas includes Aeropostale, Coach, Hollister and Nike factory stores, among numerous others.

As part of the agreement with Pima County, the developer would set aside an estimated $89 million for a wildlife corridor between the Tortolita and Tucson mountains.

The wildlife corridor is considered to be the last remaining location for wildlife to move between the two mountain ranges.

The agreement gives Pima County 2 percent of certain revenues that would be generated by the outlet mall for the next 30 years, with revenues going to improve the wildlife corridor, county officials said.

Other public improvements — 30 acres of wildlife habitat, two miles of river park from Avra Valley Road to Twin Peaks Road, and road, water and wastewater improvements —are expected to cost AWE Talisman an estimated $33.1 million.

Those concessions were made in return for increased zoning for a higher-traffic, more dense development than previously planned for the outlet mall site.

Ann Ackerman, a vice president and director of marketing for AWE Talisman, cautioned that the project is still in the development stage.

The owner of the property, I-10 Avra Valley Mining and Development LLC, is expected to sell the property to AWE Talisman next year.

AWE Talisman’s Development Concept Permit has already been approved by the county.

The company expects to begin construction next summer.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@azstarnet.com or 573-4346. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFerguson.

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