Headlines: Developers to the State, You Know What’s Cool? A Billion Dollars

We just love highlighting all the big-time developments in this city. Hell, we devoted almost an entire issue to the “New Boom” back in March. But how do projects like the W Hotel, East Market The Gallery, the SLS International Hotel & Residences and even the Divine Lorraine get funded? A decent amount of it oftentimes comes from matching funds from the state in the form of Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP). In fact, Joe DiStefano of The Inquirer reports that “developers, corporations, colleges, hospitals and towns” have requested over $1 billion in funds from the state. Last year, Gov. Tom Corbett saw $1.1 billion in requests, but only “funded $207 million of projects.”

Philly alone at 66 requests, some goodies from this year include:

Highlights from the ‘burbs include:

DiStefano reports that Gov. Tom Wolf is actually seeking more requests for RACP funding. Check out the full list at the link below.

Developers ask Penna. for $1 billion+ [The Inquirer]

More Headlines For Your Enjoyment!

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Is There Really Going to Be a Retail Revival at The Gallery?

Philadelphia-Fashion-Outlets

A look at the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia. | Image courtesy PREIT.

PREIT finally released its renderings for The Gallery, and they are shiny visions of glass and gleaming white tiles and flashy digital signage. But underneath the high-shine veneer, what are we really getting?

First, there’s a name change. The Gallery — which has long since shed its identity as the key retail hub of the city — will be known as the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia. The name speaks to one of the issues Philly faces in nabbing prime national retailers: They’ll come, but only in off-price, discount form (see: Nordstrom Rack and, most likely, Bloomingdale’s).  Read more »

Headlines: The Gallery Moves Another Step Forward, It’s Now Up to Council

Is that The Gallery? No. It's the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia | Image courtesy of PREIT

Is that The Gallery? No. It’s the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia | Images courtesy of PREIT

In case you haven’t heard the news, there’s a $575 million renovation and rebranding project planned for The Gallery. In order to transform it into the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia, developers PREIT and Macerich first needed the approval of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (the landlord of the mall) and the School Reform Commission. Both entities met separately on Thursday to discuss the matter with the development team and each unanimously approved their part of the deal, clearing the way for City Council to consider it next week.

Jeff Gammage of The Inquirer reports that PRA agreed to a 69-year lease of the mall to PREIT and Macerich, which now makes things a whole helluva lot simpler in the complicated who controls what department: “The measure approved Thursday would consolidate the multiple interests that govern the Gallery’s operation under the control of the project developer.” Gammage also reports that PREIT “agreed to hire 25 percent to 40 percent women and minorities, depending on the job, as the mall is built.”

As for the SRC, PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey reports that the board voted to create a special tax-increment financing (TIF) district for the property “that would save the mall’s owners $55 million in property taxes over a period of 20 years.” Basically, the developers are on the hook for only $1.6 million in taxes through 2036. Taxes jump to “around $11.4 million” per year after that.

Groundbreaking Philly Housing Complex Wins Top National Honors:

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Gallery Gets a New Name, Market East Could Still Get Eataly

gallery-interior-concourse-940This morning, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) and Macerich announced their grand new plans for the Gallery at Market East. The new mall will be called the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia and will feature lower-cost outlets of high-end retailers. The Gallery’s dead-to-the-outside exterior will also be revamped, opening the solid walls with glass fronts and sidewalk cafes.

Since 2013, Eataly, Mario Batali’s Italian wonderland of food and restaurants, has been rumored to be coming to Philadelphia and the location that keeps coming up is the former Strawbridges building at 8th and Market. The old department store is considered part of the Gallery project and despite Century 21’s recent opening on the second floor, the first floor remains vacant and available.

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The Secret Plans for The Gallery Have Finally Been Revealed

Is that The Gallery? No. It's the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia | Image courtesy of PREIT

Is that The Gallery? No. It’s the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia | Images courtesy of PREIT

Welp, the genie is now officially out of the bottle. PREIT and Macerich have finally come forward with their vision for The Gallery and it’s full of windows, digital signage, stark white floors, glassy escalators and 125 new restaurants and higher end shops, albeit it probably their discount lines. Hell, it won’t even be called The Gallery anymore. No, it turns out that Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia rebranding bit was true after all. It really is the end of The Gallery as we know itRead more »

Mega Mall: Simon Property Group Backs Out of Hostile Takeover Bid

Macerich co-owns The Gallery with PREIT | Photo: discoverPHL

Macerich co-owns The Gallery with PREIT | Photo: discoverPHL

Remember earlier this month when news trickled out that Simon Property Group, the nation’s largest mall operator and owner of Philadelphia (Franklin) Mills, ruffled some feathers by attempting a bold hostile takeover bid of Macerich, the third largest mall operator and mysterious co-owner of The Gallery? Well apparently, the deal is no more. The Associated Press reports that “called off” the $16.8 billion bid ($23.2 billion counting debt) in an effort to create some kind of Megatron of mall operators.

Macerich, who repeatedly rebuffed Simon’s takeover attempts, Read more »

Morning Headlines: Foster + Partners Will Design $1.5 Billion Penn Health Systems Tower Project

UPENN-hospital-of-pa

There are a few reasons why the in-progress Comcast Innovation and Technology Center is the most important building to be built in Philadelphia in recent memory. Not only can you point to Comcast firmly planting their corporate flag(ship) into the city’s soil (for a second time) with a skyline redefining tower at a height unseen outside of New York and Chicago, but that “game-changer” moniker was completely reaffirmed once it was announced that Foster + Partners would be in charge of its lofty designs. That brings us to today’s headline.

The University of Pennsylvania is no stranger to the upper stratosphere in pretty much every category, including medical care and facilities and architecture and design. So it may come as no surprise that they’ve retained a star-studded lineup of design and construction companies, anchored by Foster + Partners and L.F. Driscoll, to lead their new $1.5 billion hospital tower project, according to a report from Philadelphia Business Journal.

The project would be done in multiple phases over several years. It’s expected that the health system will begin razing Penn Tower sometime this year in preparation to make way for construction of the new hospital.

Foster + Partners will be joined by HDR, Inc. on the design of the project which, if you’ve seen the works of either firm, should be a gorgeous addition to Philadelphia’s built environment–seriously, the Millau Viaduct is a work of art. L.F. Driscoll and Balfour Beatty are in charge of the construction side of the project–which could be a 700-bed hospital tower with 50 operating rooms and other medical services.

Want some more coolness? Here’s Lord Norman Foster himself narrating a video of some stellar drone footage from the Hearst Tower in New York City, ten years after its opening. Might we see one of these tribute videos to the CITC ten years after its completion?
Penn Health System picks development team, ‘starchitect’ for hospital expansion [Philadelphia Business Journal]

Plans for The Gallery, Huge Sinkhole and More!

Morning Headlines: The Gallery Could Get City Funding

Century-21

During a conference call this past Wednesday, PREIT president Joseph F. Coradino alluded to a possible contribution from City Council that would go into renovating parts of the Gallery. The Inquirer’s David Sell has the statement:

“We’re poised to deliver a world-class project. Our discussion with the public sector continues to progress with the expectation that City Council will consider a public financing package in December and ratify it in early 2015. As this process unfolds, we intend to update you on our vision, scope, schedule, and returns.”

Sell reports that a Thursday call to Council President Darrell Clarke’s spokeswoman about the news hit a dead end as she was “unaware of such plans for Council consideration.”

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Morning Headlines: The Gallery Is Getting A $106 Million Makeover

Gallery

Well, we can’t wait to see this! Yesterday, PREIT announced Macerich Co, a mall developer from California, will invest $106.8 million into redeveloping the Gallery.

Macerich owns fifty-five locations throughout the country, including the Deptford Mall. The Inquirer’s Joe DiStefano says the company, which is putting up funds along with PREIT on “on a 50/50 basis,” will be getting 50% interest out of the deal.

And what will we get out of it? Here’s what DiStefano reports PREIT’s CEO had to say: Read more »

Reminder: PREIT’s South Jersey Restaurant Week Starts This Weekend

Distrito-Tacos-de-Carnitas-940

In what they’re calling the “First Ever South Jersey Restaurant Week,” the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (which owns and/or manages the Cherry Hill Mall, Moorestown Mall and Voorhees Town Center, among other properties) will be showcasing the best restaurants in South Jersey…which happen to be located in either the Cherry Hill Mall, Moorestown Mall or Voorhees Town Center.

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