Carson Breaks Ground On Massive Outlet Mall

Officials from the Carson Reclamation Authority (CRA), the City of Carson and the state government celebrated the early stages of site work for the Los Angeles Premium Outlets, an upscale outlet center off the 405 Freeway at Avalon Boulevard, on August 14.

“This landfill closed in 1968. For about the first 10 years, not a whole lot happened. But from 1978 on, there’s been one group after another . . . that have made a run at it,” Carson City Manager John Raymond told the Business Journal. “There have been different developers talking about an outlet mall going back maybe 20 years. This plan being proposed goes back to probably 2013.”

The project, a joint venture by developers Macerich of Santa Monica, and Simon Property Group of Indianapolis, spans 566,000 square feet, including 2,500 linear feet of frontage along the 405 Freeway in Carson, to be built in two phases. Current plans include shops and restaurants elevated above street level, with ground-level parking below. The developers are aiming for a fall 2021 opening. No tenants have been announced at this time.

Carson Outlets Rendering
Construction is underway on the 566,000-square-foot Los Angeles Premium Outlets, located off the 405 Freeway at the Avalon Boulevard exit in Carson. (Rendering courtesy of the City of Carson)

The land is owned by the CRA, a city-operated agency created to hold the title of 157 acres of landfill that are available for development. Macerich and Simon had the option to purchase the land from the CRA but opted for a ground lease instead. Details of the lease are still being negotiated, but Raymond said the lease period will extend for about 50 years with long-term extension options. The lease agreement is expected to be finalized in the next month or two.

“We are so pleased to be a part of this innovative new chapter for upscale outlet shopping in Los Angeles,” Mark Silvestri, executive vice president of corporate real estate and COO of development for Simon Property Group, said in a statement. “We, along with our partners at Macerich, are excited for the future of this center and its surrounding cities and communities.”

As the property owner, the city is on the hook for $40 million worth of environmental ground improvements, including grading, and the installation of a landfill gas system and a special liner to mitigate fumes given off by the decomposing landfill. Former redevelopment bonds and an environmental trust cover the city’s costs. The city is also handling the installation of concrete piles and the pouring of the nearly 900,000-square-foot slab, which is being paid for by the developer to the tune of $55 million.

Developing structures over a landfill is tricky, Raymond explained. Since April, the city has been driving 14-inch-square piles 20 to 25 feet into the ground below the landfill to act as a base for the future structure so that it does not sink as the landfill subsides over time. Some piles are as long as 100 feet, depending on the depth of the landfill. Raymond said all piles should be in place by mid-September and the city will deliver the completed slab, ready for development, in the spring of next year.

The site has been scouted three or four times by the National Football League, most recently for the new Los Angeles Rams football stadium, which ultimately ended up in Inglewood, Raymond said. “It’s been described as the largest undeveloped parcel on a freeway in Southern California,” he added. “[The site’s] history of un-success becomes a burden on the community. It’s been kind of an albatross around the neck of Carson and to turn it into something that is going to be . . . glamorous and be a super-regional draw – we couldn’t have asked for a better project.”

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