BYRON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Groundbreaking is set for 10:30 a.m. Thursday for the construction site of the incoming Tanger Outlet shopping center in Byron Township.
According to Tanger, it will be their third outlet in Michigan, as they build 350,000 square feet of shopping space on a plot on 84th Street off of US-131. Yet local residents have mixed feelings.
Don DeYoung and his family live a few short blocks away from the soon-to-be mall. DeYoung told FOX 17 that he can remember when his street was full of wild blueberry bushes and now he said there is too much traffic.
"We have trucks all the time, and it's hard to get out on 84th Street, especially if you're turning to go east; you just can't get out of there because of traffic,” said DeYoung. “They've got a light at Clyde Park and you've got a light at the expressway, where are they going to put another light?"
DeYoung’s granddaughter Kayla Poll said she is worried about a longer bus ride to school.
"I go on the bus to go school, is it going to take even longer to go to school?,” Kayla asked.
Other residents support the Tanger Outlet coming to town. Kathy Coleman said she is excited to shop for bargains in her neighborhood with all of the gas money she plans to save from driving hours to the other outlets.
“I'm so excited about it coming here to West Michigan,” said Coleman. “I travel all the way over to Birch Run and shop over there and stuff, so it's going to be really nice that they're coming over here and creating a lot of jobs over here."
According to Tanger, this outlet will bring in about 300 construction jobs then roughly 1,000 more permanent positions among the roughly 80 stores coming to the shopping center. Tanger also estimates the center will create $7.3 million in annual state sales tax revenue.
Bryon Center Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amy Zeilenga said Tanger is their newest chamber member, that she believes other business members will benefit from.
“We are looking forward to the impact they will have as a sponsor member,” said Zeilenga. “I think it'll be a great thing for our businesses."
The Tanger Outlet is expected to open in fall of 2015.