For many, the countdown began when news of the Fashion Outlets of Chicago (FOC) broke earlier this year. As the first fully-enclosed mall built in the Chicagoland area in more than 20 years, to say that local shoppers are excited would be a colossal understatement. Please know, this is not just any mall. It is a mall filled with 130 outlet stores, some of which are the first to hit the Midwest.
This outlet mall of all outlet malls has made Rosemont, IL (5220 Fashion Outlets Way) its home and will be anchored by stores such as Bloomingdale's The Outlet Store, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th and Forever 21. Some of biggest names in high-fashion will also have real estate in FOC. This includes Gucci, Prada, Barneys New York and Herve Leger. Brands making their Chicago debut, in terms of outlet shops, include Longchamp, Vince Camuto, and L'Occitane.
Now that we are only a day away from the opening on August 1, I figured it was time to give you a rundown of what really makes this mall a standout and give you a sneak peek inside the 530,000 square-foot shopper's paradise.
When it comes to amenities, FOC appears to have thought of everything. Let's break some of them down, shall we?
Parking: The parking lot (which is covered, by the way) has been constructed so that regardless of where you park, you will never be more than 75 feet from a mall entrance. Not to mention, there will be light indicators at the end of each aisle to signify if there is a parking space available.
Convenience: A concierge service operated by TSA-certified BAGS, Inc. will provide travelers with the option to check luggage and print boarding passes directly from the mall. As an extra added bonus, the Samsonite outlet store is strategically placed near the concierge desk. This will be great news for those who will need to buy another piece a of luggage to get all of their shopping bags home. I'm certain that will happen quite often.
Transportation: Shuttles will be available, not just to and from O'Hare International Airport and hotels in the downtown area but also to and from the Rosemont Blue Line station. The shuttle servicing the Blue Line is complimentary and will run every 15 minutes. If you're a Metra rider, you'll be glad to know that FOC is only a five minute walk from the North Central line's Rosemont stop on Balmoral Ave.
FOC has also sought out to change our perception of the "shopping experience" with the launch of The Arts Initiative. Curated by the Miami-based gallery Primary Projects, this art installment will feature the work of popular contemporary artists, including Daniel Arsham, Jen Stark and FriendsWithYou and the entry way art by Bert Rodriguez (pictured). Their breathtaking artwork can be seen throughout the mall, down the sides of escalators, suspended from ceilings and throughout the vestibules and entryways.This fusion of art and fashion will be the first of its kind and I'm excited that Chicago is embracing and spearheading such innovation.
It all goes down August 1 at 10am. The grand opening celebration will span the entire weekend and will be nothing short of amazing. Besides the unbeatable deals in each store (eg. Burberry for 60% off at Bloomingdale's), there will be interactive performances by Cirque Dreams, photobooths, ballon artists and face painters.
So, if you're in Chicago, bring the family out for a day of fun and bargain shopping. If that means you have to call off work one day this week, we won't tell your boss. And if you're not in Chicago, go ahead and book that weekend shopping getaway now. You'll be the envy of all your friends, but I'm sure you won't mind.
Visit fashionoutletsofchicago.com for mall information, directions and the full store directory. Click here to view more pre-opening photos.
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