Mall Hits Stretch Run

The metro is in for a pair of Black Fridays this year. The traditional one after Thanksgiving will be preceded by this Friday’s debut of the new multi-million dollar outlet mall in Gretna.

If you’re going to be in the crowd, be prepared for some traffic changes in the area.

Two days before the grand opening, state road crews had the paint and pylons out near the Nebraska Crossing outlet to change the way customers leave the property. If you're trying to exit from the main entrance that has always been there, you will no longer be allowed to turn left to get on the interstate.

Tim Weander, with the Department of Roads said, "There may be some people who take excessive risks to try to get on the highway."

You can still enter the mall from both directions but signs will encourage drivers to go around the property to the exit with a traffic signal.

Meanwhile, it's an all-hands-on-deck approach to get the outlet mall ready for Friday morning. Windows are being cleaned, landscaping is being arranged in place.

Twenty years ago, on October 22, 1993, the first Nebraska Crossing opened to much fanfare. The fanfare was followed by the bugs. Traffic was backed up, some customers wondered why there weren't many places to eat. Complaints of only one set of restrooms forced quick changes.

WOWT 6 News consumer reporter at the time, Sue Baggarly, documented many of the issues at the time and as the mall prepared for rebirth we asked her what went wrong the first time around.

"What I remember is everybody had these great hopes when it was first coming in. It was supposed to come in in several phases and they never followed through with the other phases," she said.

With Friday looming and many people planning their first Black Friday of the month on November 15, will the outcome be different?

Sue said, "This time, they're bringing in a lot more stores to start with. I think it will have a much better reception."

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