HANOVER - Seneca Nation of Indians leaders, acting on a retail feasibility study completed this summer, are considering the next phase of plans that could lead to a 400,000-square-foot outlet mall on a 108-acre site just off Exit 58 of the state Thruway.
If the project continues forward in the 2012-2014 presidential administration of Richard E. Nephew, it's expected to create an estimated 250 construction jobs and 750 full- and part-time retail jobs when fully built.
"If I am elected president, building this outlet mall and creating these jobs and this regional economic development will be a top priority of my administration," Nephew said Thursday.
Here is a map of the proposal, which was outlined Thursday morning.
The retail feasibility study was announced Thursday by Nation President Robert Odawi Porter, Council Chairman Nephew and Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards.
It's been determined that the best return for the Nation would come if the project is not built on restricted fee land. In this way, the county and state governments can benefit, as can all the people in the region and the Nation's future employees.
The 108-acre site, currently owned by the Seneca Gaming Corp. and locally known as the "bean field" is in Hanover. It's at Exit 58 of the New York State Thruway, close to the Nation's sovereign Cattaraugus Territory.
By way of comparison, the Fashion Outlets Mall in the Town of Niagara is 526,000 square feet and employs 1,000 full- and part-time workers.
As part of the Nation's ongoing development planning efforts, the bean field site has been identified for its potential as a Regional Commercial Center for the area, capitalizing on its high visibility from I-90, easy access off of Exit 58, and between 30,000 to 40,000 average daily vehicle trips passing the site.
The first phase of the project included the retail feasibility analysis, prepared by a leading national retail expert. It was completed in July 2012 and concluded that the project area at full build-out has the potential to support approximately 400,000 square feet of gross leasable area of retail and restaurant space to create a strong outlet center hub. It would also capture a larger share of the region's visitor base by elevating the profile of current attractions in the vicinity.
"This is an exciting announcement from President Porter and Council Chairman Nephew," said Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards. "It is part of a cooperative effort that has gone on for two years between Chautauqua County and the Seneca Nation.
Phase II for the Nation includes due diligence and seeking financing. The Nation's Council must approve the project.
The outlet mall, like most Seneca businesses, will bring in money from outside Western New York. A majority of the Seneca casinos' loyalty cardholders travel there from outside the Buffalo-Niagara region: Canada, 5 percent; Pennsylvania, 19 percent; Ohio 15 percent and other regions of New York, 40 percent.