East Hartford outlet mall officially dead

BY Gregory Seay

East Hartford's proposed $105 million outlet mall is dead.

Citing the rocky U.S. retail environment, Illinois developer Horizon Group Properties Inc. announced via emailed statement Monday that it was no longer pursuing the 70-store Outlets Shoppes at Rentschler Field, in the shadow of Pratt & Whitney Co.'s main campus.

Horizon CEO Gary J. Skoien said town and state officials have been notified the 282,000-square-foot project will not move forward.

"This was an extremely difficult decision for us, because we believe that the project would be a success, but unfortunately circumstances beyond our control affected our ability to move forward," Skoien said.

As recently as last Nov., weeks after Horizon had broken ground and amid concerns about the project's fate, Skoien had indicated that the development was still alive and that Horizon was pursuing options to salvage it.

"When the project was delayed last November, we needed all the retailers to re-commit to the project with no changes in the economic terms of their leases, and that didn't happen,'' Skoien said.

Mayor Marcia Leclerc said the town will continue to pursue redevelopment of the area.

"We will be now begin discussions again with Pratt in regards to their property and their intent for development,'' Leclerc said in a statement.

Pratt did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.