TOWN OF NIAGARA – Construction is set to begin on the sewer pump station needed to service the 170,000-square-foot, $71 million expansion of Fashion Outlets of Niagara mall.

Town officials are scheduled to conduct a pre-construction meeting today in Town Hall with engineers from Clark Patterson Lee and the contractor, Mark Cerrone Inc. of Niagara Falls.

The expansion is seen as critical by owners Macerich of Santa Monica, Calif., who are in steep competition with two malls in Canada for shoppers from north of the border. The outlet mall construction is well underway.

Officials say shopping has not been disrupted, with auxiliary parking lots along Factory Outlet Boulevard and shuttle service to the mall available.

Cerrone was awarded the $583,000 contract last week by the board to install the lift station to accommodate sewage generated by the 50 new stores that are part of the expansion.

With the ribbon-cutting scheduled for Oct. 16, a $15,000 incentive will be paid to Cerrone by Macerich if the pump station is complete by September, according to the contract.

Board members voted to establish the Fashion Outlet Expansion Sewer Improvement Area when they met last Tuesday. The improvements are designed to replace gravity sewage collection with the new pump station, directing the flow to the sewage treatment plant of the Niagara Falls Water Board.

The project will be financed by bonding, which could be offset by federal, state, county and local funds, according to the resolution.