Christine Lee, Grand Prairie Reporter
Paragon Outlets expects 100,000 shoppers in their first four days.
Grand Prairie finally has its very own mall.
The Paragon Outlets by Interstate 20 and State Highway 360 had its soft opening on Thursday.
With tax-free weekend starting August 17, shoppers came early to beat the crowd. The city expects more than 100,000 people during a span of four days.
Karen Fluharty, the outlets' spokesperson, said more than 150 people lined up outside of the Nike Factory Store and 200 people lined up outside of Coach awaiting the stores' opening.
"It's going to bring an estimated over 10 million people into the city with over three million dollars of sales tax revenue," said Bradley Kent, Tourism Officer with the City of Grand Prairie.
Kent also said 100-percent of the property was leased and the outlets created 2,100 new jobs.
Shopper Jessica Smith said she couldn't wait to check out her first neighborhood mall.
"It is hitting home that it's finally here. I'm excited, I'm a shopper, I love to shop, so I'll be here a lot," she said.
The outlets have been preparing for the crowd for months.
"We have parking here at the center, we've also contracted off-site parking and we have police, traffic directors, and a number of traffic plans in place," said Fluharty.
The new Sara Jane Parkway also opened this week, connecting drivers north of the outlets to northbound SH 360.
"It's a five lane road. It's going to be able to carry a lot of traffic, and it just opened yesterday," said Sgt. Eric Hansen with the Grand Prairie Police Department. Sgt. Hansen also said up to 20 officers will be on-site during peak hours.
The Paragon Outlets will have extended hours this weekend, opening from 10 a.m. until midnight on Friday and Saturday. The mall will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.