$100-million Desert Hills expansion includes McQueen, Valentino

Simon Malls unveiled the $100-million expansion of its Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon on Thursday, allowing crowds of tourists and shoppers to stream into new off-price stores from Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Fendi and more.

Fifty new outlet stores make up the 146,000-square-foot build-out. The McQueen store, along with the Helmut Lang and Belstaff shops, marks a first foray into the outlet world in the U.S.

Simon also added a 1,100-space parking garage, new landscaping, lighting and wider walkways. The entire center, which hosts 180 stores such as Armani and Prada, got a facelift.

Participants in the ribbon-cutting ceremony were herded into a large white tent in a courtyard flanked by La Perla on one side and Wetzel's Pretzels on the other. Under chandeliers, guests sipped champagne and watched stilt walkers stroll by the Helmut Lang store.

Simon, which has 325 properties total, said Desert Hills is the most productive outlet center in California and one of the top five of its kind in the country. The mall brings in $1,300 per square foot in sales. Up to 30% of its visitors are international tourists.

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