Phoenix Premium Outlets Open to Public

Miss Gila River, Lisa Hohokimal Hendricks, cut the ribbon at the Phoenix Premium Outlets grand opening April 4. She was accompanied by Premium Outlets Senior Vice President Steven Dworkin, Premium Outlets President John R. Klein and Gov. Gregory Mendoza. Photo by: Mikhail Sundust

Miss Gila River, Lisa Hohokimal Hendricks, cut the ribbon at the Phoenix Premium Outlets grand opening April 4. She was accompanied by Premium Outlets Senior Vice President Steven Dworkin, Premium Outlets President John R. Klein and Gov. Gregory Mendoza. Photo by: Mikhail Sundust

The Phoenix Premium Outlets, Gila River’s newest economic entity, opened for business at 9 a.m. April 4.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony packed with political leaders, business leaders and plenty of shoppers ushered in the next phase for the Wild Horse Pass Development area, a 360,000-square foot, 90-store outlet mall of upscale retailers. Standing on a platform amidst stone pillars at the entrance of the mall, Gov. Gregory Mendoza said the grand opening was just another step in Community expansion. “To our Community members that are here — our elders, our past leaders, our young people that are here — this is all about you,” Mendoza said. “This is for the Community.”

The grand opening ceremony was kicked off by a blessing and song by Bobby Stone. Numerous GRIC Council representatives attended, including Barney Enos Jr. (D4), chairman of the Wild Horse Pass Development Authority interim board of directors. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat who is the represents Arizona’s First Congressional district, joined Gila River leaders.

Steven Dworkin, the senior vice president of development and acquisitions for Simon, touted his company’s new outlet destination as on among the best in the nation. “What you see all around you and what you will experience once you step inside this sophisticated and modern outlet center represents the best of the best in the outlet industry,” Dworkin said.

Maura Eggan, vice president of marketing for the outlets’ western region, added: “It’s just hard to believe what’s happened here in a year’s time. It’s a very exciting day for us.”

The Phoenix Premium Outlets, owned by Simon Property Group, are projected to generate $150 million of annual sales and $13 million in sales tax revenue. The outlets employ approximately 800 people. Stores must give Native American job seekers hiring preference over equally qualified non-Natives. Stores like Coach, Nike, and Brooks Brothers opened their doors to throngs of shoppers seeking reported savings of 25 to 65 percent everyday, according to the Phoenix Premium Outlets website. Coach had lines out the door.

The Community will generate revenue from the outlets through sales taxes. Revenue will also be generated by rent the Phoenix Premium Outlets pays as the tenant.

Gila River Community members will pay the Community’s sales tax on purchases at the mall, but they are not subject to Arizona state and county taxes on their purchases.  By purchasing merchandise at the outlets, Community members will save approximately 2.8 percent in total sales tax in comparison to buying merchandise off-reservation in Phoenix or Chandler. Community members will need to show their tribal I.D. cards to merchants in order to claim the exemption from Arizona state and county taxes.

Non-Community members will be subject to Arizona state and county sales taxes in addition to the Community’s sales tax.  The combined tax rate for non-Community member purchases at the outlets is the same or very similar to the tax amount that they would pay for purchases in Phoenix or Chandler.

GRIC members can also receive a VIP coupon book upon each visit. They contain an assortment of discounts, good for a year, at a number of retailers. The booklets can be obtained at the information desk located in the food court.
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