NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (WJLA) - At long last, Prince George's County's first outlet mall is open for business.
Crowds packed the new Tanger Outlets in Oxon Hill, just down the road from National Harbor, on Friday, eager to get a first look at the more than 90 stores that will soon be fully functional.
Steve Tanger, the man behind the national chain of outlet malls, says that Friday's successful opening just one year after breaking ground on the project justfies what some saw as a risky investment.
"We look to the future of Prince George's County, and the future is bright," Tanger said.
The present of the project, though, was the concern over traffic. Stores were packed by the time the complex opened, but police say that traffic, for the most part, ran smoothly for the thousands of visitors who turned out.
Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker says that the mall's opening is a boon for the local economy and another step toward making the county a high-profile business destination.
"(It's) the highest income, highest educated African-American community in the nation," he said. "Yet we couldn't shop in our own neighborhoods for quality stores."
It's one of the many reasons why county resident Althea Diggs is singing the praises of the completed project.
"It's going to bring lots of money to the community," Diggs said. "More jobs. It's just awesome. I'm loving it."