March 27, 2006 – Posted at 5:13 p.m. CST
JONESBORO, AR – The Mall at Turtle Creek is set to open Wednesday and shoppers are poised to spend big bucks.
Last year Target and J.C. Penney opened at the Mall at Turtle Creek just in time to log huge holiday sales figures. Now the grand opening is only days away, experts are expecting an even larger economic impact.
"The bottom line is, I'll say with that $107 million investment, it's had a significant positive effect on the community before we even open the doors," said Dr. Len Frey of the ASU College of Business.
The first phase of the Mall at Turtle Creek opened last winter with Target and J.C. Penney. Since then shoppers have come out in droves to spend their shopping money. Money that translates into sales taxes that stays here in Northeast Arkansas when it used to go somewhere else.
"We discovered that in the county we are up about 9% month over month this time last year and in the city we are up about 7.5%," said Dr. Frey.
However, the significant jump in tax revenue can't be solely attributed to Target and J.C. Penney, but the mall is credited with creating around 1500 jobs. Jobs that put money in the pockets of residents in Region 8.
"The money that is spent here will result in sales tax collection, result in people having jobs, being able to give back to this community, also just across the road homes that sold for $30,000 are now selling for $250,000," said Dr. Frey.
The finishing touches are being put on a mall that many felt was long overdue for this area. The mall hopes to draw from a population base of around 400,000 shoppers that developers believe could grow even more as time goes on.
"I'm persuaded that when I-555 opens, we are going to pull a lot of shoppers from Crittenden County , which we used to discount as Memphis shoppers," said Developer Bruce Burrow.
Studies show the mall will draw from an 18 county trade area that covers Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri . It's a complex many feel will validate Jonesboro as growing metropolitan area.
"We have long been considered the center of education, the center of health care and this solidifies ourselves as the center of retail for Northeast Arkansas," said Dr. Frey.