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Updated 08/01/13 – 10:55 a.m.
ROSEMONT, Ill. (CBS) – A high-end fashion outlet mall opened Thursday morning in Rosemont — the first new indoor mall in the Chicago area in two decades — and the huge deals stores are offering could bring in big crowds.
CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports the new Fashion Outlets of Chicago could be a huge economic boost for Rosemont, but also might create bigger traffic problems for the northwestern suburbs.
Because it’s the grand opening, you can expect deep discounts today and throughout the weekend. J. Crew is offering 40 percent off; The Gap is offering 70 percent off.
The $230 million two-story, 530,000-square-foot mall boasts 130 high-end retailers. The food court has 11 restaurants, and other eateries are located throughout the mall.
Stores include Gucci, Michael Kors, Armani, Tory Burch, and Cole Haan; all with outlet prices.
Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens said the mall will bring 2,000 jobs to the area.
“Obviously, we’re very excited about this,” he said.
Stephens said the mall is expected to generate $25 million a year in sales taxes for the state; Rosemont’s should get about $6 million a year in sales tax revenue.
To entice people to shop there, the village of Rosemont has agreed to cover the cost of tolls at the Balmoral Avenue exit from the Tri-State Tollway, between 9 a.m. Thursday through 8 p.m. Sunday.
For iPass users, they will see the initial charge on their statement, but should be credited in a few weeks.
Rosemont could end up paying about $50,000 for shoppers’ tolls.
There’s also a free shuttle to and from the Rosemont stop on the CTA Blue Line to help shoppers avoid heavy traffic.
Stephens said Rosemont officials have a plan in place to minimize traffic problems, but he acknowledged “the plan is going to be flawed at some point.”
While parking in the outlet mall’s attached 7-story, 2,000-space enclosed garage will be free this weekend, parking fees go into effect on Monday.
Starting Monday, parking will be free only for the first two hours of parking; after that, motorists must pay $3 for 2-3 hours of parking; $6 for 3-4 hours; $9 for 4-5 hours; $15 for 5-8 hours; and $20 for 8 hours or more.
The mall also will offer curbside baggage check service on the first floor, so travelers from O’Hare International Airport don’t have to lug their bags around. The service costs $15, but those headed to O’Hare can have them checked in and sent straight to the airport.
Rosemont officials have said they hope the mall will be a tourist destination, since it’s so close to O’Hare. The developers hope that proximity to O’Hare and other tourist attractions in the Chicago area will make it a huge success.
“I think, because of the hub of international tourism, I think that it will reach global acclaim rather quickly,” said the mall’s developer, Arthur Weiner.
Stephens said the mall should eventually boost business for local hotels and other businesses that rely on travelers.
“The marketing plan for the mall here is very much centered on international travelers, so we’re going to see additional hotel rooms rented, and hotel tax that’ll also be spread out throughout the state of Illinois,” Stephens said.
The nearby convention center and Allstate Arena are also big draws for the area.
The mall already has leased 95 percent of its stores.