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Crowds flock to Eagan for opening of new outlet mall

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A new outlet mall opened in Eagan Thursday, which brought thousands of shoppers to the southeast metro for the grand opening festivities.

Hundreds of people gathered outside some of the stores even before the mall opened Thursday morning.

The 100-plus store mall has several grand opening events planned this weekend, which kicked off with a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday morning.

The $100 million Twin Cities Premium Outlets is located just a few miles away from the Mall of America in Bloomington, and will be the only outlet mall in the seven-county metro area.

The mall will be open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday this week, and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sunday. Regular mall hours will be 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sundays.

Prior to the mall opening, Eagan city officials were preparing for the additional traffic that’s expected over these next four days, according to the Star Tribune.

Major roadways weren't too backed up leading to the mall early Thursday, but there was some congestion on other roads.

KSTP reports parking is available for as many as 3,000 cars. Mall employees road shuttles to and from work to free up more parking for customers. And temporary surface lots next to the city’s new parking ramp will also be available through opening weekend. Only an hour or so after the mall opened, the parking lots were packed.

Metro Transit is also offering free bus rides on the Red Line to the mall through Sunday with a printed pass.

The mall is located at 3965 Eagan Outlets Parkway, near the intersection of Highway 77 (Cedar Avenue) and Highway 13. The city of Eagan has a map with directions to the mall, as well as parking information, on its website.

New stores

There are several outlet stores that are new to Minnesota, including: 7 for all Mankind, American Eagle, Asics, Calphalon, Cole Haan, Crabtree & Evelyn, Crazy 8, Filson men’s accessories, Francesca’s Collections, Helzberg Diamond, J. Crew, Janie & Jack, Johnston & Murphy, Robert Graham (which is opening soon), Steve Madden, Vera Bradley and White House Black Market, the Star Tribune says.

Some of the big names at the mall include Coach, Nike, DKNY and Saks off Fifth. For a complete list of stores, click here.

Click here for details on offers and discounts from many of the stores.

Shopping guide

The mall has a what's being described as a convenient racetrack design. The oval shape compresses the shops to one area, which provides easy access to all the stores.

But there are a lot of them – 105 are expected to open Thursday.

The Pioneer Press put together a shopping guide for the opening of the outlet mall, noting it's important to know the theme of the mall so shoppers can get to their desired stores.

The mall has seven buildings – two main buildings surrounded by five smaller ones. The Pioneer Press notes most of the shops are clustered together by themes: the west side of the mall has sports stores, and on the east end are the higher-end fashion shops like Saks off 5th and Armani.

The city of Eagan has a printable mall map and directory so its easier for shoppers to find their way around.

VIP treatment

A temporary VIP lounge will be set up this week near Saks Off Fifth in suite 740 of the mall. The lounge, which will be open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, will have free massages, hair styling and makeup touch-ups to VIP members.

Shoppers can sign up for the free VIP Shoppers Club to get exclusive deals by printing online coupons. Free coupon books will also be available to members who print a voucher and to non-members who sign up at the VIP lounge during the mall's grand opening.

Many news outlets have analyzed what the outlet mall will mean for the south metro. The Star Tribune looked at the future relationship between the outlet mall and Mall of America, noting the nation's largest shopping destination will feed shoppers to the outlet mall.

Finance & Commerce says the outlet mall is drawing huge rents from stores that are comparable to rent at Mall of America.

The Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune mention how the new mall will lure visitors and possibly inspire development in the area.

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