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PREIT, the Philly-based real estate trust that specializes in owning and operating shopping malls, announced today it has sold four of its underperforming malls, allowing the company to better focus on managing its prime locations.
Joseph Coradino, PREIT’s CEO, told the Wall Street Journal the newly shed malls had high vacancy rates and low sales per square foot, hurting the company’s overall brand. “If we were a car dealership, it would be like putting all our worst vehicles in front,” he told the paper. “The Aston Martins, Lamborghinis and Ferraris were being covered over by a bunch of junkers.” Read more »
The Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia
There’s an interesting wrinkle to the redevelopment of The Gallery at Market East into the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia. PREIT and Macerich, the partnership developing the future outlet mall, have also purchased three properties across the street from the current downtrodden shopping center.
According to a report from The Inquirer’s Jacob Adelman, Joseph Coradino, PREIT’s cheif executive, said the plan is to find new tenants for these storefronts after the retailers at the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia have been selected. They could be used to lure businesses who might not fit the plans of new shopping center, but want to be in and around the action. Remember, the East Market project is bringing apartments and gobs of retail to 11th and Market in the not-too-distant future–so there should be plenty of action in the coming years.
The Inky found out through city records that the pair bought the properties between 1010 and 1024 Market Street, which includes the wave-like Robinson department store building, under multiple (and difficult to identify) names in November 2014 for a combined $17.24 million.
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The Gallery under renovation earlier this year. (Photo: Dan McQuade)
The Gallery won’t re-open as the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia anytime soon.
Macerich and Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, who are co-developing the transformation of the mall, say the project won’t be finished until 2018 or 2019 now. The news was first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer; Macerich VP Robert Perlmutter revealed the news in a conference call with analysts last week.
The Gallery, originally hailed as generator of urban rebirth, had lost its anchor tenants in recent years, and storefronts on upper floors were generally vacant. Though the mall still had a lot of foot traffic and generated respectable sales per square foot, its reputation, quite frankly, stunk.
The eastern half of the mall is closed; the western half (Gallery II) is slowly clearing out for redevelopment. When that’s done, PREIT and Macerich will rehab it into the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia at Market East. Read more »
Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, the publicly traded trust that operates in the ownership of shopping malls and retail properties, is selling off five properties, including two in Center City.
This is part of PREIT’s strategy to sell off properties that don’t perform as well in order to raise money for more high profile ventures, according to philly.com’s Jacob Adelman.
“[PREIT] is concentrating its resources on malls with good locations in affluent areas and other competitive advantages,” Coradino said of the sales, after a presentation to investors.
One of the Center City buildings is at 1501-05 Walnut St., the building that PREIT agreed to house an AT&T store in back in June, essentially creating a “Cell Phone Alley” with the mega Verizon store in the glassy building at 1430 Walnut Street.
At the time, it was lauded as a transaction that was “representative of PREIT’s dominance in and significant knowledge of the retail landscape in Philadelphia” by Coradino. The AT&T store is still under construction.
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Ron Rubin in 2013 (Photo by Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan/Sipa USA)
Ron Rubin — whom we once dubbed as “the man responsible for building every mall ever” — is stepping down as the executive chairman at PREIT.
He’ll stay on as chairman of the board, however, the company announced.
Sure, it’s an exaggeration to say Rubin is responsible for “every mall ever,” but PREIT — where Rubin became CEO in 1997 — does operate 27 million square feet of retail space across the eastern half of the United States, most of it in shopping malls. And a 2009 Philly Mag profile credited Rubin with helping create modern Philadelphia: Read more »
Image via PREIT
Philadelphia’s only Legoland Discovery Center is slated to open in spring 2017 at the Plymouth Meeting Mall, Pennsylvania Real Estate Trust (PREIT) announced today in a press release.
Merlin Entertainment plc will operate the 33,000-square-foot dreamland of young (and old) Master Builders everywhere. “The Legoland Discovery Centers have been a huge success across the globe, particularly as an opportunity for adults and children to spend fun, quality time together,” said John Jakobsen, Chief New Openings Officer, Merlin Entertainments plc, in a press release. “Plymouth Meeting Mall is the ideal location for the attraction as the mall is already a favored destination for Pennsylvania families and tourists from the region.”
Construction is expected to begin in in summer 2016, and it will have a prime position on the south side of the mall, which faces the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
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The entrance to PMN’s headquarters at Eighth and Market streets.
The Inquirer and Daily News once occupied one of the most easily recognized buildings in Philadelphia — the 18-floor tower on North Broad Street that suggested the newspapers had managed to build their very own fortress.
These days? The papers can’t even get a good sign to advertise the location of their current headquarters at Eighth and Market streets, leaving the journalists there to practice in relative anonymity.
That’s why the papers’ owner, Philadelphia Media Network, filed suit against its landlord this month, seeking more than $3.5 million in damages: Signs identifying the headquarters of the city’s largest news organization were promised in the company’s lease of the former Strawbridge & Clothier department store, its lawyers say, and the landlords still haven’t made good. Read more »
Osteria Moorestown will make way for Catelli Duo.
Marc Vetri’s Osteria in Moorestown will close and make way for a Catelli Duo, a more casual Italian concept. Vetri and Osteria was the ace-in-the-hole when the mall’s operator, PREIT pitched the previously dry town to sell four liquor licenses at the mall for a million dollars each.
Catelli Duo gets an upgraded location from its current spot in the PREIT-owned Voorhees Town Center. That mall is being sold and will be losing one of its anchor stores. According to Philly.com’s Michael Klein, Catelli Duo will also take 3,600 square feet of space next to Osteria for private dining.
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Officials from SEPTA and PATCO confirmed today that PREIT plans to shut down the eastern half of the Gallery mall on October 2nd, as the developer commences with the first phase of its $325 million vision that will eventually see it become the glossy Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia.
Jeff Gammage of The Inquirer reports that PREIT notified both SEPTA and PATCO officials of the announcement today via hand-delivered letter, which outlined the PREIT’s plan: “The first stage of demolition at the three-block mall will take place between Eighth and 10th Streets. A barricade will block access to the east, and to the stairs and escalator at 10th, which now usher people up to ground level at Market Street.”
The second phase includes work on the western portion of the mall to 11th Street, and is anticipated to begin in 2016.
So, will it be a long, cold winter for the thousands of commuters who prefer to make their way to and from Center City through the warm concourse of The Gallery?
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A rendering of the renovations at 1501 Walnut Street. The corner will contain an AT&T Store. (Photo: PREIT)
Perhaps we can start calling the intersection of 15th and Walnut “Cell Phone Alley.”
A T-Mobile store already sits next to Butcher & Singer just down Walnut from 15th. The building containing a new Cheesecake Factory at 15th and Walnut has a Verizon Innovation store going in. And, today, PREIT announced it had signed AT&T Mobility for the 1501 Walnut Street location. That’s three cell phone stores at one intersection, pretty much. All that’s missing of the major carriers is Sprint!
1501 Walnut Street was previously the Walnut Mini Mart, a tiny convenience store. Read more »