New outlet mall coming in Leeds

LEEDS, AL (WBRC) - Leeds, Alabama is known as a small, quaint city.  Its downtown full of specialty shops, but the shopping experience will soon be magnified.

A new $127 million outlet mall will be constructed just off Highway 78, visible from Interstate 20.  The Daniel Corporation plans to bring upscale outlet shops like Gap, Banana Republic, Tommy Hilfiger, Brooks Brothers and OshKosh.

Leeds Mayor Eric Patterson says he is excited about the huge boost.  "We think the future looks really bright for the City of Leeds."  Bright might prove to be an understatement.  The Shops of Grand River will add lots of extra revenue for Leeds, in the end paying for city services and attracting houses.  "Better city services would fund more housing and more growth," Patterson said.  "We've got brand new schools opened this year, so the timing is really just perfect"

As for the economy, leaders at Daniel Corp. say they are not worried, adding discount shopping is really what Americans are looking for in these tough times.

Leeds Chamber of Commerce President Bill Morris says the new development will keep shoppers local.  "All the people in our area going to the Galleria and Summit," Morris said.  "Now they will just stay here and spend their money here.  It will save my wife from spending gas money from going there...she can stay here."

In the end the outlet mall will be the size of 10 football fields.  Work will start immediately and Phase 1 should be complete by the 2010 Holiday season.  Additional phases are in the works.