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      Big changes in store for Traverse City Outlet Center

      The Traverse City Outlet Center that is also known as the Horizon Outlet Center currently has lot of empty store fronts, but a new plan could be changing all of that.

      Project managers are excited to announce their multi-million-dollar, multi-year, and multi-phase plan for the outlet center and say all they need now is the approval from Garfield Township Officials.

      Phase one is the current focus, and includes a brand new movie cinema.

      "The proposal encompasses about 60-thousand square foot, 14-theater complex all in one building," said Planning Consultant, Doug Mansfield.

      "Everything will be state of the art," said Owner Representative, Joe Sarafa. "Carmike is a theater company that specializes in home towns, smaller towns like Traverse City. They're here already, they're doing a great job, and we're excited to see them expand."

      The new cinema will also include a 70-foot wide, 3-storey "BigD" theater that will have state of the art sound, 3D picture, and will hold about 500 people. The entire cinema will have a self-serve popcorn station, and over 100 Coca-Cola choices.

      Phase one will also include a new parking lot and another 2-storey building that will have drive-through capabilities. Project organizers do not know what will go in this building yet but say that it could become a restaurant or bank.

      Construction will include demolishing a large section of the outlet center, but current tenants will be given the option to relocate in the remaining buildings.

      Future phases will include re-developing the remainder of the outlet center, but officials do not know what will fill the spots yet. They plan to put one or two more large stores in, and to fill remaining spots with smaller businesses.

      Organizers also hope to open the area up to the Buffalo Trail System that runs behind the YMCA and Great Wolf Lodge.

      The Outback restaurant will remain where it is, and the current cinema will stay open until construction is complete in the new one. Carmike Cinemas will continue to run and manage the new building.

      "That's what we're really trying to do is create a sense of place here, create a destination where you'll want to come here and stay here," said Mansfield.

      "It's going to be an entertainment shopping area where you can get up in the morning, workout, grab a cup of coffee and then head to your job," said Sarafa. "Or it will be a place where you can come with your family, have dinner, and go see a show. It's going to be a place where you can go do some shopping and meet your friends after work for a drink."

      Project managers will be presenting their plans to the Garfield Township Planning Commission on Wednesday. Once everything is approved, construction will begin in about four months and phase one is expected to be complete by Summer 2015.