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Camarillo Outlet Mall to Open With 20 Stores


Camarillo's factory-outlet mall will open next month with 20 of its initial 28 tenants in place, a developer said Thursday.

The mall's debut Feb. 16 comes after two years of delays. Developers proposed the project in 1991 but were stymied from going forward by a series of lawsuits and threatened lawsuits over their development agreement with the city of Camarillo. Construction began only after an out-of-court settlement in August.

"I'm extremely pleased," Steven Craig, president of Chelsea GCA Realty, said Thursday from his office in Newport Beach. "We had some problems early on, but mainly from outside influences--outside the city of Camarillo.

"The good news is that in the end we won out, the project's going to be there. We endured the process."

Four stores on the Camarillo developer's list already have branches at the rival Oxnard Factory Outlet--Geoffrey Beene, Leather Loft, Nine West and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

The managers of Leather Loft and Nine West foresee an initial sales impact but no long-term problem, because the two locations won't have identical merchandise.

Leather Loft Manager Deborah Johnson thought having two malls might eventually spur area tourism and benefit all outlet businesses.

"I think people will make a whole day of it: Shop here and shop down there," said Johnson, who plans to transfer from the Oxnard store to Camarillo.

The other stores announced Thursday include Avia, Bass, B.U.M. Equipment, Cape Isle Knitters, Designer Brand Accessories, Factory Brand Shoes, Genuine Kids, John Henry, Jones New York Factory Finale, Laundry and Levi's.

Other apparel and accessory stores include Maternity Works, Music 4 A Song, OshKosh B'Gosh, Sunglass Hut, Van Heusen, Wallet Works and Windsor Shirt Company.

Houseware and specialty stores at the new mall will include Book Warehouse, Glorious Nest, Harry & David, Le Gourmet Chef, Mikasa and Toy Liquidators.

Twenty of the stores are scheduled to open Feb. 16, with the rest in 60 to 90 days, Craig said.

Camarillo City Manager Bill Little estimated that the mall could bring in $250,000 to $300,000 in sales tax revenues annually, although its proximity to Oxnard's 7-month-old factory outlet creates an unknown factor.

"It's an unusual situation. We're just going to have to see what happens in the marketplace," Little said.

Both the Camarillo and Oxnard malls are slated to expand. Craig said the second phase of the Camarillo project, consisting of another 20 stores, is scheduled to start April 1 with completion projected for late summer. He said Chelsea will have invested $20 million in Camarillo by the time the entire crescent-shaped complex is finished.

Oxnard mall officials were not available for comment.

The legal issue that delayed the Camarillo mall from advancing focused on a city agreement to rebate a portion of the sales tax revenues to the mall's developers. When the rebate was ruled invalid, developers chose to pursue the project anyway.

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