City and county leaders, business owners, politicians and community stakeholders descended onto the Ridgewalk area for the long awaited ribbon cutting for the new outlet mall.
The outlet mall is located along Ridgewalk Parkway just east of Interstate 575, directly off the new Exit 9 interchange.
Hundreds of people packed into the main courtyard for the ribbon cutting, which was deemed as the official opening of the development to the public.
Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques said city and county residents will soon enjoy the benefits of the property and sales taxes the outlet mall will soon flow into the government coffers.
"I firmly believe this is the biggest thing to hit Woodstock since the railroad," he said. "That says a lot."
Henriques also noted surprised to see thousands of people turn out to Wednesday night's ticketed, VIP shopping event at the outlet mall. Money raised with the ticket sales went to benefit the Elm Street Cultural Arts Village.
The outlet mall is a joint venture of CBL & Associates Properties and Horizon Group Properties. Both companies developed the project, but Horizon is in charge of leasing and managing the center.
Randy Gravely, chairman of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce's board of directors, also said this was an "exciting time" for the city of Woodstock and Cherokee County.
Gravely said he's lived in Cherokee County all his life and can remember the days when everyone had to drive outside the county boundaries to shop, visit the doctor and eat at quality restaurants.
"Ladies and gentlemen, those day are in the rearview mirror," he said. "Those (days) are (in) the past. And today reaffirms that with the opening of the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta."
The outlet mall, Gravely added, will be marketed internationally, attracting visitors from around the country and world to shop at the outlet mall and spend money to boost the Cherokee County economy.
"Woodstock, Cherokee County and the Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta will be recognized internationally," he added.
County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens stated the new development adds to his long list of Unique Selling Points.
"This is front and center on that list, along with our public safety, along with our schools, along with our airport and along with all the other things that are happening for the right reasons," he added.
He also praised Horizon, Woodstock, CBL, Cherokee County Development Authority, the Cherokee Office of Economic Development and the Georgia Department of Transportation for working together to enhance the infrastructure surrounding the outlet mall.
Ahrens also praised for the city for "having the formula" for getting the message about the outlet mall out to the public, referring to the thousands of people who turned out for the VIP event.
The 370,000-square-foot outlet mall will be stocked with some of the widely known brands and designer outlets such as Adidas, American Eagle, Auntie Anne’s, GH Bass & Co., Calphalon, Chao Praya, Chicken Now, Chico’s, Clarks, Coach, Crabtree & Evelyn, Crocs, Fossil, Fragrance Outlet, Ghirardelli Chocolate, Hartstrings, Johnston & Murphy, Jones New York, Juicy Couture, Kasper, Kate Spade, Lane Bryant, Lenscrafters, Lids, Lids Locker Room, Little Tokyo, Loft Outlet, Luggage Factory, Naturalizer, Papaya, Skechers, Sunglass Warehouse, The Children’s Place, Tommy Hilfiger, True Religion, Ultra Diamonds, Van Heusen and Yankee Candle.
The development will feature covered walkways, landscaped court yards and will blend traditional features with other features such as a children's play area.
A center court area will be complete with fountains and a fire place and the site overall will be able to accommodate an additional 30,000 square feet of outlet mall space.
It also has seven out parcel spaces designed for restaurants, service businesses and other retail uses.
Horizon and CBL predicts the outlet mall will generate more than $130 million in sales annually and $3 million in sales and property taxes for Woodstock and Cherokee County.