National Harbor is looking for ways to increase the number of visitors. That hook may come in the form of a new outlet mall, built on 40 nearby acres.
National Harbor is hoping to build on the success of discount outlet malls like Potomac Mills and others built far from the Washington suburbs.
Steven Peterson, president of the Peterson Companies, says, "We are excited to announce that we have entered into a joint venture with Tanger Outlet centers to build a 350-thousand square foot facility, on the backside of National Harbor for 80 world-class stores."
The Outlets will be built on land is known as "Salubria". Before the Civil War, the land was a slave plantation on Oxon Hill Road.
Local Historic societies and some long-time residents like Joyce Hawkins want the site preserved, so the lessons of slavery are not forgotten.
Joyce Hawkins says she'd like to see the land preserved as a park. "With a nice plaque," she said. "If any of those columns are left from the original building, they should be incorporated into the park. But I can't see really having a mall there."
News4 asked customers at National Harbor how they fell about using the plantation for an outlet mall.
Novari Bailey, who was eating lunch at National Harbor says, "I think they ought to have a plaque or memorial to somehow preserve the history of it, just so it doesn't get lost."
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley says the outlet mall could be a much needed economic boost."This is an opportunity to get high-end retail outlets located inside the beltway in Prince George's county. And I think its great, not only for our economy and great for the jobs, it's also great for the quality of living and what it says about the future of Prince George's."
If all goes according to plan, National Harbor should have its outlet mall up and running in about a year and a half.