The Outlet 66 Mall formerly known as the Belz Factory Outlet World, also later being known as The Outlet at Route 66 is an enclosed shopping mall in Canóvanas, Puerto Rico. Anchor store for the mall is a Burlington Coat Factory, accompanied by a Caribbean Cinemas, and many other stores.

The Outlet 66 Mall
The Outlet 66 Mall logo
LocationCanovanas, Puerto Rico
Coordinates18°22′26″N 65°53′7″W / 18.37389°N 65.88528°W / 18.37389; -65.88528
Address18400 Autop. Roberto Sánchez Vilella, Canóvanas, Canóvanas 00729
Opening date16 August 2001
DeveloperBelz Enterprises
OwnerJustin Tirri[1]
ArchitectSoltero Muñoz Architects and Jerde Partnership
No. of stores and services80+
No. of anchor tenants1
Total retail floor area512,000 sq ft (47,600 m2)
No. of floors1





In June 1998, it would be reported that Memphis-based Belz Enterprises had broken ground for Puerto Rico's first enclosed factory outlet mall. The site of Belz Factory Outlet World Canovanas was located 15 miles east of San Juan along Highway PR-3, a major east–west corridor. Working with world-renowned architects, Belz had planned the ultimate facility, combining outlet shopping with unique restaurants and entertainment components. The enclosed mall would consist of five connected buildings, each with a different mood and streetscape depicting Old San Juan. The center's food court would feature a rain forest/entertainment theme with rockscapes and waterfalls. Phase I of the Belz Factory Outlet World in Canóvanas would have approximately 350,000 sq. ft. of space with more than 80 tenants. Belz had chosen Soltero Muñoz Architects to work on the project. The renowned Jerde Partnership from Encino, California, had been engaged as the design architect.[2][3]

In Spring 2000, it was reported by Belz Enterprises that “Pre-leasing has never been stronger,” said Andrew J. Groveman, president of Belz's Factory Outlet Division. “Belz Factory Outlet World in Canóvanas is more than 65 percent pre-leased, this is a ‘tenant-driven’ location.” Groveman said. In addition to factory outlet stores, Belz Factory Outlet World in Canóvanas would feature an all-stadium seating, multiplex movie theater. Belz Enterprises planned to open the much anticipated center in the spring of 2001.[4]

Opening and success: 2000s


On August 9, 2001, it was reported that a soft opening for the Belz Factory Outlet World in Canóvanas was scheduled for August 16, and would be the scenario for 25 to 30 stores initially opening for business. By October of that year, 85% of Belz’ 70 stores were expected to be ready. Convenience and comfort were the two words used to describe the island's newest outlet mall at the time by Andrew Groveman, president of Factory Outlet Division in Tennessee. "Everybody loves to shop at outlets," Groveman said. "In Puerto Rico, everybody loves to shop period. It’s almost considered a sport." The local Belz outlet decor emulated the streets of Old San Juan and was painted in vibrant colors to resemble houses in the Old City. However, there was a major difference. This shopping strip was air-conditioned. Besides the architectural rendering of the Old City, the outlet mall would feature hand painted murals reflecting local vegetation and animal life. The mall's exterior was designed to resemble a fort similar to El Morro. Working with architectural firm Jerde Partnership, Belz Enterprises had employed its best resources to make the outlet attractive, easy to reach, and widely visible. Belz’ 446,000 square feet of space would be occupied by Nike, Gap, Dockers/Levis, Maidenform, DKNY Jeans, Liz Claiborne, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Samsonite, Polo, Mikasa, Timberland, Reebok, Oshkosh, Geoffrey Beene, Bass, Izod, among many others. Stores would offer products directly from the factory to make their merchandise more affordable. It would also feature a 32,000 square foot 10-screen multiplex movie theater with all-stadium seating.[5][6]

On August 11, 2001, it was reported that some of the stores that had already opened at the Belz Factory Outlet World in Canóvanas had sold more than their counterparts on the U.S. mainland, according to General Manager Guillermo Cray. The outlet mall was also opening more stores, he said, adding that Belz was 90% leased and the remaining space is being negotiated. "Stores such as Clarks and Bostonian are breaking sales records in comparison to the same stores in the U.S.," said Cray. "Gap and Liz Claiborne sold more than their counterparts in the U.S. during their first day operating at Belz." Cray said that he expected more stores at the 500,000 square foot mall to have similar sales experiences. Among the new stores that would be opening was Nautica. Other well-known chain stores from the U.S. would follow but Cray was unable to disclose their names as they were still in negotiations. Establishments that had opened recently included Polo Ralph Lauren and Banco Popular. The food court would also open more spaces. Eateries that would open in the following weeks included Burger King, La Estrella, El Meson Sandwiches, a co-branded Baskin Robbins and Dunkin Donuts, Hunan House, Subway, a Taco Bell, and KFC & Pizza Hut, which would share the same space.[7]

On March 13, 2003, Belz Factory Outlet World shoppers were in for a treat with the opening of Caribbean Cinemas' new seven-screen movie theater at the shopping mall. The 26,255 square foot theater featured wide screens, high-back chairs, and stadium seating. A number of other stores had also opened at Belz Factory Outlet World, including Airwalk, Click, Journeys, The Luggage Store, Pacheco Jewelers, RadioShack, Trade Secrets, and Almacenes Rodriguez.[8][9]

On October 13, 2005, it was reported that the Belz Factory Outlet World was being sold to locally owned Caribbean Airport Facilities (CAF) for an undisclosed amount. The deal, in which CAF was acquiring the remaining 51% of the property it didn't own already, was expected to close on December 1. Even though the deal hadn't been finalized, already CAF had big plans for the outlet center. Among these plans was the development of out parcels next to the mall. CAF also wanted to invest almost $70 million to build a Holiday Inn hotel and a recreational park. Tennessee-based Belz Enterprises had built the Belz Factory Outlet in 2001. It started out with only 70 stores, but would soon have more than 100. According to CAF project and development manager Justin Tirri, the outlet mall had sales per square foot that averaged $500, but specified that some retailers were making up to $1,000 per square foot. The mall had a total 470,000 square feet of space. “We used to own the land where Belz is," Tirri explained, adding that as of the first day of December, the land plus the mall would become 100% CAF's property. "We see great potential with the future opening of Route 66, which will bring more traffic and sales to the property." Tirri indicated, sales and traffic at the mall were seeing double-digit increases compared to 2004. "We are growing substantially already" The mall's general manager, Guillermo Cray, said that more than 1,000 homes were being developed in lands adjacent to the shopping center. He added that the majority of the homes being developed had price tags of over $200,000. Bel planned to grow to capture this market. CAF would invest between $45 million and $50 million to build a 108-room Holiday Inn hotel and casino the following year near the shopping mall's entrance. New store openings were also part of Belz's expansion plans. Among the stores that were to open before the end of the first quarter of 2006, Tirri expected a Calvin Klein, a Panasonic, and a D.E.M.O. store, while Cray added that the Clark's/Bostonian store was the most successful of the entire U.S. market, with sales per square foot averaging $800 that would soon grow by 2,000 square feet. Valija Gitana would move into the space next to Clark's/Bostonian. Also, he said that the U.S. Postal Office was operating from a temporary space while it built a new 8,000 square foot area where it will employ up to 100. More tenants would open in some 18 acres of land located right next to the mall, including two big-box retailers. Some parking space also would be developed to house more tenants. Also, Cray said, the mall was going to invest some $400,000 to purchase some 20 kiosks to be leased to temporary retailers. The kiosk stores were expected to begin operating in March. Tirri indicated that four casual dining concepts would occupy freestanding buildings occupying between 4,000 and 7,000 square feet. He said he was still negotiating with some chains some of which didn't have a presence in the local market yet and thus couldn't reveal their names. Also to be developed were freestanding locations for four different banks: Westernbank, Doral, First Bank, and Oriental. In addition, Tirri said a pharmacy and a gas station would join the tenant mix as well. Regarding the gas station, he explained that it would begin construction in two to three months and would feature a very high-end European style, just like some of the gas stations seen in France. The station would even include a car wash.[10]

Expanding: 2010s


On September 23, 2010, national retailer Burlington Coat Factory (Burlington) was set to inaugurate its third store in Puerto Rico at The Outlet 66 Mall in Canóvanas. The new 60,000 square foot store, sporting the chain's new retail design at the time, would help create approximately 150 new jobs and bring Burlington's total number of employees on the island to more than 400. During an exclusive interview, Burlington's Divisional Vice President Angel Guzmán confirmed that Burlington's expansion continued to move full speed ahead with plans to open three additional stores in 2011 to the tune of $6 million. "We are thrilled about the positive response we have received from the Puerto Rico market. Next in line is the opening of our exciting new Canóvanas store, which will carry Burlington's complete merchandise selection of name brand labels at discount prices. In addition, the Canóvanas store will feature Burlington's new store prototype, which was recently unveiled stateside. Puerto Rico is the first location off the mainland to have the new retail look; a more contemporary image," Guzmán explained.[11]

On January 31, 2013, it was reported that The Outlet 66 Mall proved once again it was on the right road. Not only did the extension of Route 66 facilitate access even more for shoppers who wished to quench their need for name brands in the mall, but The Outlet 66 Mall would also add six to seven new stores to its roster of renowned tenants. While Justin Tirri, executive vice president of The Outlet 66 Mall, preferred not to divulge the names of these tenants, he said they were known at an international level. "These new additions will fit the tastes and preferences of our shoppers," Tirri said. "It also demonstrates that we are totally committed to always look for options and opportunities to enhance their shopping experience," Tirri said. The mall and this point hosted 73 stores and 53 corridor modules (kiosks). Among its main tenants, The Outlet 66 boasted such names as Burlington Coat Factory, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren and Nautica. The Outlet 66 Mall had risen among the Caribbean Business Top 400 Locally Owned Companies, moving from No. 324 in 2008 to No. 268 in 2012, and was among the top 15 largest shopping centers in Puerto Rico, while its management company was among the top 15 largest shopping centerbmanagement companies on the island. The mall had felt the positive effects of the recent addition to PR-66, or the Roberto Sanchez Vilella Expressway, a 3.8-mile extension from Canóvanas to Río Grande, which was inaugurated in October 2012. The addition of The Outlet 66 Mall's tenants matched its busy and productive 2011 summer season, when its roster of clients was complemented by the opening of such tenants as Gymboree and Crocs, as well as Perry Ellis, Elegant Nails & Hair Salon and a Banco Santander branch.[12]

On August 3, 2018, it was reported that Hurricane María had dealt a severe blow to the mall, which owners then responded to by making a new start with a $62 million renovation to turn the Canóvanas shopping center into what they were calling a “retailtainment” destination. Justin Tirri, president of the Outlet 66 Mall, said the mall had suffered $66 million in damages from Hurricane María’s wrath in September 2017, which had crippled about 80 percent of the shopping center. But rather than close permanently, mall executives turned to FirstBank and the insurance company to rebuild and reopen. Before Hurricane María struck, the Outlet 66 Mall had 84 stores, including kiosks. Post-storm, about 14 tenants chose to leave, giving mall operators the opportunity to rethink the concept. Aside from removing the Old San Juan facades, the mall was getting new floors, new entrances and a permanent exhibit of sculptures made out of car parts allusive to movie characters. The retail executive said the company had been trying to migrate to a mixed concept for about five years, but had the challenge of negotiating with tenants. So, the company moved to negotiate with tenants, and in the process, made space for what would be 85,000 square feet of entertainment options or 16 percent of the mall’s total 512,000 square foot complex. The mall was 80 percent occupied at the time, Tirri confirmed. A first of its kind in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean was the new K1 Speed & CXC Simulator Experience, an indoor electric carting complex for children and adults. The simulator area featured 10 high-definition racing booths that offered the excitement of the track, which could be combined with virtual reality glasses to round out the experience. Across the corridor would be an eight-lane bowling alley, an arcade and a new restaurant called Karma’s, which had a capacity for 380 customers, a wine bar, a beer garden, and cigar room. The space also featured party rooms for private events. The entertainment component of the mall was under management by Powerhouse Entertainment, which was creating 160 direct and indirect jobs. The mall’s makeover, which would also eventually include a change in name, would be 85 percent complete by mid-October, in time for the upcoming holiday season.[13]

2020s, and on


On March 28, 2022, it was reported that Atlanta-based fast-food burger chain Krystal announced it would open its first international franchise-owned restaurant in Puerto Rico. The first location of the “original home of the slider of the South” outside the US mainland would open at The Outlet 66 Mall, company officials announced. Krystal Restaurants LLC selected Caribbean Cattle LLC, headed by entrepreneur Justin Tirri, as the franchise operator on the island and the deal was to continue to grow and increase the brand’s footprint in Puerto Rico, it noted. Tirri operating the shopping center. The restaurants would feature the brand’s new design and service format. It would be reported to open on November 22 of that year.[14][15]


  1. ^ "Justin Tirri - LinkedIn".
  2. ^ Shaughnessy, Andy (June 1998). "Belz building first indoor factory outlet mall in Puerto Rico". Business Source Complete. p. 26. Retrieved 13 September 2023.
  3. ^ "The Belz Report - Spring 1998 - Page 3". 2003-04-26. Archived from the original on 2003-04-26. Retrieved 2023-09-13.
  4. ^ "The Belz Report - 2000, Volume 1". 2000-10-20. Archived from the original on 2000-10-20. Retrieved 2023-09-13.
  5. ^ "PUERTO RICO HERALD: Belz Outlet Mall Soft Opening In Canovanas Set For Aug. 16". 2001-08-30. Archived from the original on 2001-08-30. Retrieved 2023-09-13.
  6. ^ "The Belz Report - 2001, Volume 1". Retrieved 2023-09-13.
  7. ^ Rosa, Taína (11 August 2001). "Belz to open more stores, celebrate grand opening". Caribbean Business. p. 13. Retrieved 13 September 2023.
  8. ^ "Belz - Caribbean Cinemas opens at Belz Factory Outlet World". 2003-06-21. Archived from the original on 2003-06-21. Retrieved 2023-09-13.
  9. ^ "The Belz Report - 2003, Volume 2". 2003-07-07. Archived from the original on 2003-07-07. Retrieved 2023-09-13.
  10. ^ Rosa, Taína (13 October 2005). "Caribbean Airport Facilities Becoming Sole Owner of Belz Factory Outlet". Caribbean Business. p. 24. Retrieved 13 September 2023.
  11. ^ Ryan, Frances (23 September 2010). "Burlington to open its third store in Puerto Rico". Caribbean Business. p. 6. Retrieved 13 September 2023.
  12. ^ Belaval Díaz, Mario (31 January 2013). "The Outlet 66 Mall to add new stores to impressive client roster". Caribbean Business. p. 36. Retrieved 17 September 2023.
  13. ^ "The Outlet 66 Mall gets $62M makeover to become 'retailtainment' mecca". News is My Business. 2018-08-03. Retrieved 2023-09-17.
  14. ^ "Krystal to open 1st burger franchise in Puerto Rico this summer". News is My Business. 2022-03-28. Retrieved 2023-09-17.
  15. ^ "Abre el primer local de hamburguesas Krystal en Puerto Rico". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). 2022-11-23. Retrieved 2023-09-17.