By Eric Heinz
In a report released by the San Clemente City Manager’s Office last week, the projected sales tax revenue from the Outlets at San Clemente is expected to be about $300,000—down from the budgeted $825,000 the city expected to receive this fiscal year.
But that doesn’t mean things won’t stabilize in the future. City Manager James Makshanoff said there are a few factors that contribute to the early forecast.
“When we set up the budget, we had the idea (the Outlets) were going to open up sooner. The budget was completed in June,” Makshanoff said. “They didn’t open until mid-November, and I would say there was about a six-week delay. And then the number of stores that opened versus what was expected was lower.”
Outlets General Manager Susan Jennrich said business has been steady since the initial opening with holiday weekends bringing in “strong” numbers of visitors. The project has been planned in two phases, and Jennrich said they are continuing to lease to new businesses with a few expected to open in the coming months.
Outlets officials are also looking at their own financial forecasts, she said.
“What we can say is exactly what the report says, as stores open at the Outlets, revenue will continue to increase,” Jennrich said in an email.
The importance of the tax revenue for the city is directly related to the maintenance of Vista Hermosa Sports Park, which requires about $1 million per year. The city had been financing the park’s maintenance off the sale of land to a Target a few years ago, but that money is expected to run out this fiscal year.
“I think we’ll be able to work it out in the budget, but we’ll have to find other areas to make it happen for Vista Hermosa Sports Park,” Makshanoff said. “But the whole point (of the report) was just to make sure that everyone’s expectations are on the same page.”
Jennrich said the following stores are expected to open in the future: Nautica Factory Store on Wednesday, Feb. 10, Bowl of Heaven in late March, LOFT Outlet in early April, Blaze Pizza this spring, Ruby’s Diner this summer. Kitchen Collection and Le Creuset opening dates are to be determined. The Outlets will begin phase two as soon as the leases and additional details of phase one are complete. Jennrich said there are no updates regarding when the hotel will be planned and submitted to the city, but she they will provide them when they become available.