Crossing into the future

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Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 12:00 am

After more than seven months, the outlet mall on the southern side of town is finally open for business.

The new Smart Outlets at Nebraska Crossing held its grand opening on Friday morning, complete with a ribbon-cutting, bargains and plenty of shop goers.

“It’s been a labor of love,” Developer Rod Yates said to the Breeze.

Yates, of OTB Destinations, said he and his staff are very excited to finally open the mall to the public and encourages people to continue to come out and experience the outlets.

“Enjoy the brands,” he said.

He said Nebraska Crossing is a place both retailers and consumers will appreciate for years to come, as well as the City of Gretna and the greater Omaha Metro area.

“This will be the anchor for a lot of new development out here,” Gretna Mayor Jim Timmerman said prior to the ribbon-cutting.

Timmerman said the project has long been in the works for Gretna, starting with prior Mayor Sally McGuire and the City Council more than three years ago.

He told the Breeze he is excited to see the impact the mall will have on Gretna, creating both shopping and employment opportunities. The biggest thing, however, is the attention the mall will give the city.

“This is going to be Gretna’s signature,” he said.

Standing in the 350,000 square-foot facility, Timmerman said it will definitely help the city stand out.

“It’s hard to believe it was put up in only eight months,” he said.

Following a flag presentation by Gretna Boy Scouts Troop 363 and a variety of speakers, including Gretna Chamber of Commerce President Brad Stauffer and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, Yates and property owner Frank Krejci cut the ribbon and guests began exploring the mall. Lines outside of stores such as Under Armour and Coach quickly began wrapping around the buildings.

“The mall looks really nice,” shopper Crystal Pribyl said.

Pribyl, of Le Mars, Iowa, said Nebraska Crossing wasn’t the only reason she made the two hour drive to Gretna, but it was definitely a large reason. She said from what she had seen so far, the mall was impressive.

“It’s very high tech,” she said, watching as people played on an interactive video screen in the center of the mall.

By 9:30 a.m., people began talking about the parking lots being full, and lines of cars matched lines of shoppers by the time stores opened at 10 a.m. Over the course of the weekend, the mall reported more than 100,000 shoppers.

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