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Outlet center being constructed off the Grapevine

Posted: November 12, 2013 5:34 p.m.
Updated: November 12, 2013 5:34 p.m.

An artist's rendering of the courtyard at the Outlets at Tejon Ranch, now under construction north of the Grapevine on Interstate 5. Courtesy art

Santa Clarita Valley residents tired of taking a trek to Los Angeles or the San Fernando Valley for their shopping needs will soon be able to head north for an alternative.

Construction has begun on a $90 million commercial development dubbed The Outlets at Tejon Ranch, which is located where Interstate 5 emerges from the Grapevine and Highway 99 splits off. The site is about 45 miles north of Santa Clarita.

The development will augment the existing commerce center in the area, which now is largely a collection of restaurants and gas stations, said Hugh McMahon, vice president of commercial and industrial real estate for the Tejon Ranch Company, which is developing the project along with The Rockefeller Group.

“We’re not just going to be a place to stop for a burger and some gas,” he said Tuesday. “It’s going to be just a completely different experience.”

McMahon said the existing commerce center in the area serves mainly as a pit stop for travelers, but it still attracts millions of visitors a year.

“After a lot of research we came to the conclusion that it was really a no-brainer that we should develop an outlet center at the location,” he said Tuesday.

An outlet is a brick-and-mortar retail store where companies or manufacturers sell their stock directly to the public.

The open-air design of the center is circular and will include a replica of Bakersfield’s historic Beale Memorial Clock Tower and large landscaped courtyards between more than 70 different retail outlet spaces.

McMahon said both the location and the makeup of the development are the result of years of research and planning and he thinks the center will thrive despite the growing role the Internet and online purchasing play in the retail market.

“People still want to go out and try things on and find bargains and hunt for that thing they’re looking for,” he said. “And that requires getting in the car and going to the mall.”

One concern of the development may be its possible effect on traffic through the Grapevine, the major artery between Northern and Southern California.

The Grapevine can be closed intermittently in the winter due to snow and ice on the roadway.

But McMahon said he does not think the Outlets at Tejon Ranch will stall traffic on the interstate.

Construction is in progress at the site and the first retail stores are expected to open in August 2014, McMahon said.

The Tejon Ranch Company is also working to construct a residential development in the area, as well as a resort community, according to the company’s website.
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