“We got here at 10 a.m., right when it opened,” Cobb said. “I like all the brands that they carry.”
The store is part of a 250,000-square-foot expansion of the mall, owned by Simon Property Group. The 30 new and expanded stores that opened Thursday included Saks, Abercrombie & Fitch Outlet, American Eagle Outfitters, Robert Graham and The Limited Outlet.
Several more stores are expected to open later this year, including Coty, Finish Line, Harry & David, Movado Company Store and Wellensteyn Outlet. As part of the expansion, an additional 2,200 parking spaces have been added, more than doubling the center’s parking capacity.
The expansion also includes new restaurants, including Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ M Burger and the first Midwest Rise Pies handcrafted pizzeria, along with amenities, such as fire places, art installations and a feature pond.
Among those attending Thursday’s grand opening activities were Batavia School District 101 Superintendent Lisa Hichens and Batavia School District Chief Financial Officer Tony Inglese. School board members last year unanimously voted to rebate $3.2 million of future property taxes to the mall to help pay for the expansion.
“In order to provide the incentive for the expansion that will end up bringing almost $2 million a year when completed, we agreed to rebate the first $3.2 million of the new taxes when they are received,” Inglese said. “We committed none of our current resources, only the new taxes that will come from the expansion. And we locked in the equalized assessed valuation of the largest taxpayers in Kane County for 20 years, protecting the property base of the school district for years to come.”
A number of special, in-store events are planned to coincide with the opening of the expansion. The Saks store will have a DJ spinning tunes in the courtyard outside of its store.
Godiva Chocolatier will be handing out free samples of Belgium Soft Serve. At Brooks Brothers Factory Store, shoppers will be shown how to tie a bow-tie and wrap a scarf.
Chicago Premium Outlets is at 1650 Premium Outlet Blvd., near Farnsworth Avenue and Interstate 88.