Another Prediction Date on Opening of Elk Grove's Ghost Mall Passes; Is Wilton Rancheria Casino Gumming Up Things?

Outlet Collection at Elk Grove

March 8, 2017 |  

Ever since construction stopped on the unfinished shopping center now known as the Outlet Collection at Elk Grove nine years ago this July, making predictions on when it might be open has become something of a parlor game. 

Although several predictions have been made as to when construction would resume, and the shopping center will be open for business, none have obviously been correct. In reviewing our archives, it was one year ago on February 25 when a prediction was made from the dais of the Elk Grove City Council.

At the City Council meeting on that date, Council Member Steve Detrick said it was his understanding, according to shopping center owner Howard Hughes Company, that 40-percent of the space at the half-built shopping center was leased. Detrick went on to say that according to HHC when they met the 50-percent threshold construction would resume.

"The hope is, they're working with some major tenants if they are able to close, that they could start [construction] later on this Spring at the earliest," Detrick said at the meeting. "And they would be able to open spring of 2017, at the earliest."  

Detrick did hedge his comments saying the Spring 2017 "was a best case scenario" and acknowledged there had been several false starts over the years.

"Keep our fingers crossed, and hopefully we can move that forward," he concluded. 

That opening date is upon us, and there are no signs that construction has resumed yesterday, today or anytime in the near future.

As it relates to the future of the Outlet Collection at Elk Grove, there are several things worth pondering.
  • Has the leasing stalled at 40-percent given HHC's comments last year to Detrick that construction would resume at 50-percent?
  • What about the proposed $400 million casino resort? If we are to believe the Wilton Rancheria, their casino project resort is a done deal. If it was a done deal, would that not help HHC secure more leases, or is the casino not "as done" as the Tribe is trying to convey and that is scaring off potential shopping center tenants?
  • Last summer Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond "Chuckie" Hitchcock acknowledged it would take up to five years to get the casino open. If the proposed casino is stalled for at least five years, or longer, is that acting as a drag on HHC's leasing efforts?
  • Detrick said HHC is trying to land a major tenant, which could imply a so-called anchor tenant. Given the bloodletting of anchor tenant-type brick and mortar retailers, as well as a slew of other national retailers,  who might that be?  That list is shrinking by the day.
  • Were claims made by Region Business Executive Director Joshua Wood and former Elk Grove Mayor Gary and Detrick in robocalls made last Autumn that denying the approvals for the casino was an effort, as Davis said  "to kill the new Outlet Collection Mall" (recording below) just a big, fat red herring? If we are to believe Hitchcock, the casino is inevitable, so why has not construction resumed?
Only HHC, Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly, the Elk Grove City Council, and the Wilton Rancheria can answer these questions.  The question is will they?

Regardless, the most recent prognostication from Elk Grove City Council said the ill-fated Lent Ranch Mall-Elk Grove Promenade-Outlet Collection at Elk Grove could be open by Black Friday, 2017. That prediction, much like the entire star-crossed shopping center, seems fated to failure.  

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