Contact: Keith Britt
Thompson & Co.
or Andrew J. Groveman
Belz Enterprises


Memphis, Tennessee (May 7, 1998) -- Belz Enterprises has broken ground on an approximately 122-cuerda tract 15 miles east of San Juan, with visibility and accessibility on PR-3 in Canovanas, for what will be the first enclosed factory outlet mall ever built in Puerto Rico.

The approximately 350,000-square-foot Phase I of the much-anticipated project, to be known as Belz Factory Outlet World Canovanas, is expected to open by fall of next year.

"This certainly will be one of our flagship factory outlet mall developments," states Andrew J. Groveman, President of Belz Enterprises’ Factory Outlet Division, which coincidentally began construction of the first Factory Outlet Mall in the United States exactly 20 years ago in Lakeland, Tennessee, just outside of Memphis.

Its latest project will be an enclosed mall comprised of five connected buildings, each with a different mood and streetscape depicting Old San Juan. The center’s food court will feature a rain forest/entertainment theme with rockscapes and waterfalls.

The project’s initial phase will have approximately 80 tenants, according to Mr. Groveman. "The retail mix will closely resemble the mix in our Orlando, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada factory outlet developments," he says. "The first phase will feature designer outlets as well as highly recognizable manufacturer outlets in almost every category."

The site itself is conveniently located on Highway PR-3, the major east/west corridor that literally passes by the front door of this project. In addition, current construction to extend Highway 66 will create a connector that will border the mall on its western property lines. "This will position the Canovanas mall in the center of the action, making it easily accessible from anywhere on the island," notes Mr. Groveman.

The Belz development will also be well positioned to take advantage of the over 4 million tourists who visit Puerto Rico annually, spending $1.7 billion, according to the Puerto Rico Tourism Board.

Belz has chosen Soltero Munoz Architects to work on this project. In addition, the renown Jerde Partnership from Encino, California has been engaged as the design architect for this project. "We wanted to create something special and constructing the team of Soltero Munoz and Jerde Partnership ensures us the ability to deliver a shopping environment that is not only unequaled in Puerto Rico but one that will also offer something for everyone in the family," says Mr. Groveman. "This development will characterize a design that will represent an environment for the next century."

With headquarters in Memphis, Belz Enterprises is a multi-faceted real estate company with more than 25 million square feet of developed property including over 40 shopping complexes, ranging from community shopping centers to regional malls. Belz owns and manages Factory Outlet Worlds in Nashville, Lakeland and Pigeon Forge, Tenn., Las Vegas, and Orlando, Fla. In addition to Puerto Rico, Belz is developing a factory outlet mall in St. Augustine, Fla., and "Festival Bay at International Drive", a lifestyle retail complex in Orlando. The company has also developed and owns a group of premier hotels, including the flagship Peabody Hotels in Memphis and Orlando.