Ten years after construction came to a halt in the midst of economic recession, Elk Grove’s so-called “ghost mall” remains desolate and incomplete, and construction of the adjacent Wilton Rancheria casino has yet to begin despite recent progress.
The Outlet Collection at Elk Grove, as the mall project is formally known by its owner, Howard Hughes Corp., is marketed on its website as a prospective go-to retail destination with over 100 shops and restaurants, a movie theater and a park, but the fenced-in plot has languished.
There has been no activity on Howard Hughes’ property for years, Elk Grove public affairs manager Kristyn Laurence said.
Just last month, a development agreement between the city and Howard Hughes that would have let the company hold on to a percentage of sales tax expired, Laurence said.
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Elk Grove made the deal in in 2014 as an attempt to incentivize the developer to begin construction and it would have stayed in effect until the mall reached a threshold of 21 tenants and 400,000 square feet. It expired on Nov. 21, Laurence said.
Now, she said, the property is still zoned for a regional mall but Howard Hughes has the same options as any owner. It can hold onto the land for a future development, propose a new development to the city, negotiate another development agreement if they decide to move forward with the Outlet Collection, or sell the land, Laurence said.
Residents are very frustrated by the stalled-out mall and the decade of inactivity despite encouragement from city leadership, she said.
The last thing she heard from Howard Hughes was that it had still not acquired enough lessees to begin construction, Laurence said.
Representatives from Howard Hughes did not respond to requests for comment.
However, the Wilton Rancheria Resort and Casino project has shown signs of moving forward, Laurence said. The tribe plans to begin construction in 2019, she said.
The National Indian Gaming Commission approved a management contract on Oct. 31 between the tribe and BGM Co., a subsidiary of Boyd Gaming Corporation, moving the tribe a step closer to its grand opening, according to a news release issued by the tribe.
“Our project to build a first-class resort and casino on our property in Elk Grove continues to move forward as planned,” Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond C. Hitchcock said in a statement Saturday. “The people Elk Grove and the greater Sacramento region deserve the quality retail mall that’s been promised to them but has been stagnant for more than a decade.”