COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you’ve driven between Cleveland and Columbus lately, you probably noticed the construction east of I-71 at the Sunbury exit. The site will be home to a 350,000-square-foot outlet mall with more than 80 “upscale” outlet retailers. 

More than 40 stores have received building permits, including:

  • The North Face
  • Coach
  • Express
  • Calvin Klein
  • J. Crew
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Converse

Brand names more than anything else are what draw customers, said Linda Humphers, editor in chief of trade publication Value Retail News. Humpher said outlet malls usually market to visitors within a 90-minute radius. 

Humphers said the outlet’s brands and novelty could draw customers who otherwise would visit Lodi’s Ohio Station Outlets. 

Will you visit the new outlets? Here are three things you need to know. 

1. Stores are getting ready for the June opening. 

The mall is on schedule to open in June, but mall officials declined to reveal an opening date.

Two companies will jointly operate mall space, broadening the pool of potential brands. 

Tanger — rhymes with hanger — operates 42 outlet centers in 21 states and Canada, including the Jeffersonville center. The company added four new centers in 2015.  

Mall developer Simon Premium Outlets operates 71 outlet centers and 108 shopping malls, including centers in Aurora and near Cincinnati. 

2. The project has been controversial. 

Two companies — Tanger and Craig Realty Group — wanted to build outlet malls in the area, part of Berkshire Township. But township officials rejected the zoning change Craig Realty Group needed to build its mall.

Craig Realty is planning another outlet center in Garfield Heights.

Tanger and Simon hit several snags in the process, including two referendum efforts and a fight with the local school district over tax revenue. 

3. More is coming to the area. 

Developers are planning hotels, retail stores, athletic facilities, and more for a 1,000-acre site south of the planned outlet mall called the Northgate Center Development. The Ohio Department of Transportation plans to add an exit south of the Routes 36/37 interchange to handle increased traffic to the area.

Many of the same outlet brands have non-outlet stores about 10 minutes south at Polaris Fashion Place and surrounding shopping centers. An Ikea is planned for the former Germain Amphitheater site east of I-71 at Gemini Place.