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Outlets' grand opening Friday

Park City center has added 16 new retail stores

SUMMIT COUNTY — Practicing the theory you can't get enough of a good thing, The Factory Stores at Park City is celebrating the grand opening of 16 new retail outlets.

Completing a year and a half of construction, the Phase II expansion adds 106,571 square feet for a total of 316,575 and 60 stores in Utah's largest factory outlet shopping center.

A festival of food, live entertainment, storytelling and other activities for children will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at the center, just west of I-80 on Landmark Drive, south of Park City.

"The successful factory outlet centers throughout the country have been the ones offering increased selection from a wider array of brand names," Lynn Blacker, director of marketing for Charter Oak Partners, said by phone from the company headquarters in Vienna, Va. Charter Oak serves as managing agent for the Park City outlet, among 12 centers nationwide owned by Rothschild Realty Inc., New York.

"The Factory Stores at Park City are just expanding upon this key principle," Blacker said.

Anchoring the Phase II cluster with the largest retail spaces are popular brand names Old Navy, Banana Republic and Liz Claiborne. In addition, Bass, Fossil and Nike are moving to Phase II from the original retail enclave, with the athletic shoe outlet doubling its capacity. Tommy Hilfiger, though one of the new stores, will be located among the Phase I spaces.

Other new stores opening this weekend: Hush Puppies, K.B. Toys, Music for a Song, Pacific Swimwear, Pearl Izumi, Rocky Mountain Wild Bird Station, The Cosmetic Co., Big and Tall and Wilson's Leather.

"Our outlet stores have enjoyed greater success and demand the last five, six years. More and more shoppers are looking for discount stores, and more and more retailers are looking for a presence in outlet centers," said Natalie Watson, marketing manager for The Factory Stores at Park City.

"With our proximity to Park City, the ski resorts, Sundance (Film Festival) and the upcoming Olympics, we're seen as an ideal location," Watson said, adding that Rothschild concentrates on vacation-area oriented outlet centers.

While more retailers are seeking involvement with outlets, the number of such shopping centers actually has dwindled from 324 in 1995 to 260 in 2000, Blacker said. Those remaining in the shakeout are the ones who have learned how to position themselves in the marketplace.

"The biggest key we see is variety adding to the desirability of the shopping experience," Blacker said.

The expansion, blended stylistically with the wood and masonry of the original stores, incorporates landscaped walkways, arcades and plazas to create a "village" feel.

"We tried to use the mountains to our advantage. We used the colors in the mountains when we created the color schemes. We wanted to develop buildings that harmonized with the surrounding environment," Bill Petrauskas of Shapiro, Petrauskas & Gelber, project architects, Philadelphia, said in a press release.

Activities surrounding the grand opening are free, except for food. It costs $5 a plate, with proceeds donated to the Summit County Library. Participating restaurants included in the "Taste of Park City" food portion of the event are Cisero's, Dynamite Dom's, Loco Lizard Cantina, Picasso, Pizza Station, Ruby Tuesday's, Sage Grill, Texas Red's Barbecue Pit and Volker's Bakery.

Providing live music are Square Pegs, Salsa Brava, The Usual Suspects, Tarahumara Generations, Love Bucket Jazz Band and Greg Simpson. During storybook activities, The Cat in the Hat, Berenstain Bears and Dazzle the Clown will visit.