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Work Starts on Enormous Outlet Mall in Middle of Tejon Ranch

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Now from the exurban monstrosity files: The Outlets at Tejon Ranch are under construction and expected to open in 2014. The project will deliver 320,000 square feet of outlet retail space just over the Grapevine from Los Angeles at Laval Road, a traveler's outpost located about 30 miles south of Bakersfield and 60 miles north of Pacoima (in the heart of everything!). The Laval Road exit, currently home to In-N-Out, Starbucks, and a bunch of other stuff, attracts 14 million people a year off of the 5 Freeway and Highway 99. The proposed outdoor mall, sure to delight fans of ersatz retail environments, will have "Old California architecture" and will feature a replica of Bakersfield's landmark Beale Memorial Clock Tower. In case the Vegas analogy isn't clear enough yet, the development will also be shaped in an oval, making it easier for patrons to walk and shop and never stop. The LA Times covers the outlets today, but neglects to mention that this project is a component of a much larger planned development of the Tejon Ranch property, which is the "largest continuous expanse of private land in California." The project already sparked a Civil War of sorts between environmental groups, when they disagreed on concessions granted to the landowners during the project approval process.

The developers (landowner Tejon Ranch Co. and New York real estate investment firm the Rockefeller Group) hope that the outlets will help attract a larger share of the 65 million travelers who pass by the site every year, along with residents of Bakersfield and northern Los Angeles County. But with what exactly? They've yet to identify any eventual tenants for the outlets, and the promotional video that showcases some of the project renderings is completely devoid of brands, except for a highly conspicuous Coca-Cola vending machine. But keeping vacancy rates low shouldn't be a problem--companies like Ikea, Walmart, and Target have distribution centers nearby, and Nestle, Frito-Lay, and Formica have plants nearby. Also, outlet malls have basically replaced regional malls as the retail development of choice.

The Outlets are the avant-garde of forthcoming projects that include the Grapevine project (12,000 resiences on 8,000 acres) and Tejon Mountain Village (3,450 residences on 25,000 acres).


· A new outlet mall is sprouting north of the Grapevine [LA Times]
· Tejon Ranch Archives [Curbed LA]
· Tejon Ranch proposes 12,000-unit residential project at foot of Grapevine [The Bakersfield Californian]