My first impression of Foxwoods Resort’s Tanger Outlets project was that it was a desperate act to have something different. I mean, who’s going to go to the woods of southeastern CT just shop? and would it really increase traffic to the casino part of the resort?
First, let’s review the project.
Executives at Foxwoods Resort Casino reached out to Gordon Group Holdings about five years ago to develop an outlet mall at the casino. Gordon Group brought in Tanger Outlets for branding, and an 18-month construction period will end just in time for Memorial Day weekend. The finished project will be an enclosed quarter-mile corridor with 82 retail shops that customers are only able to enter by walking through one side or the other of Foxwoods Resort Casino. One side is connected to the casino floor by the Fox Tower and the other is near the Grand Pequot Casino. The list of tenants announced so far includes American Eagle Outfitters, Ann Taylor Factory Store, Banana Republic Factory Store, Brooks Brothers Factory Store, Calvin Klein, Coach, Eddie Bauer Outlet, Fossil, Gap Outlet, H&M, Kay Jewelers Outlet, Loft Outlet, Michael Kors, Nike Factory Store, Skechers, Steve Madden and Tommy Hilfiger.
It occurred to me recently that this might be a bigger help than I thought for Foxwoods financial woes – and the evidence came from Las Vegas.
LAS VEGAS RETAIL SUCCESS
Two of my favorite Casino Resorts in the Las Vegas area are Green Valley Ranch & Red Rock Resort – both owned by the top locals casino chain in Nevada, Stations Casinos. However they are at least 15 minutes away from the strip – in Henderson and Summerlin respectively.
Station Casinos President Steve Cavallaro said Red Rock Resort was designed with an “old school mentality. (In other words)..the customer should be able to get somewhere on the property only from inside the casino. Times have changed.”
At first, Station designed Green Vally Ranch Casino Resort with The District attached to it – a retail and dining mall. It was much like a beautiful high-end strip mall outside the resort. “We saw a material benefit to business at Green Valley Ranch (Resort) when The District opened and we expect the same positive effect at Red Rock,” Cavallaro said.
With a 1.6 million-square-foot regional shopping center scheduled to open within walking distance, Red Rock Resort will undergo its largest, costliest renovation since Station Casinos opened the property in April 2006. Station Casinos designers will create a “restaurant row” along the property’s entrance that will also include outdoor entrances and patio seating for four new restaurant concepts. The restaurants will be linked by an outdoor pedestrian walkway that includes landscaping and water features. On the other side of the building, across from the under-construction Shops at Summerlin, a new parking and drop-off area will be created. Cavallaro said Red Rock Resort will benefit from the increased customer traffic associated with the mall.
FOXWOODS RETAIL+ IS A GOOD IDEA
So what Foxwoods is banking on includes building out the amenities of the resort to something that nobody can replicate. They will have it all: golf courses, shopping, dining, entertainment, & two large theaters. Not only that, but the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, which owns and operates Foxwoods, is looking for a partner to add an indoor water park at some point, Butler said. Anybody can build a casino? Yes. But it’s going to be very difficult to include all that in Springfield, or Everett – or even in New York State.
Being a resort destination in a competitive market might just need to include concepts of an indoor water park, large retail developments, and other restaurant establishments. It worked for Stations in Las Vegas – let’s hope it works in Connecticut.
That’s all for now.