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!
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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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 »
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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An outpost of the New York-based trendy burger chain Shake Shack opened at the King of Prussia Mall last year — with a solar panel-covered roof.
Since 2007, 400 malls in the U.S. have closed. Now comes the filing of bankruptcy protection from both Quiznos and Sbarro, and that’s after the partial demise of mall anchor tenants like JC Penney and Sears. From Yahoo Finance:
A decade ago there were more than 1,100 enclosed shopping malls in the U.S. Since then more than 400 have either been “re-purposed” or closed outright. No new malls have been completed since at least 2009.
Onetime mall devotees like Shoppist editor Emily Goulet are now mall escapees. Of the Oxford Valley Mall, she writes:
It’s dirty. It’s depressing. …The quality of stores has gone down, way down… The stores that remain need a facelift, too. Dressing rooms are in desperate need of a paint job, racks are horrifically disorganized, and everyone just looks like they want to go home. Even the clothes, which sag limply from hangers and hang off the arms of chipped mannequins that look like they’re from about 1987.
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Detail from a photo from labelscar.com
“It could be high-fashion, it could be Forever 21″ we reported last December of PREIT’s plans for the Gallery. Well, it appears the high-end road will not be taken anytime soon. Instead, the space of the soon-to-be-closed Kmart will more likely house stores of the latter variety, in addition to getting a strong food presence.
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The building on the northwest corner of 15th and Walnut once had an illustrious tenant: Louis I. Kahn, the celebrated modernist architect, had his office there. Today its tenants consist of three retail shops and a Pennsylvania lottery.
Buyer Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), which owns the Gallery, as well as many other malls, has not offered specifics about what will happen with the 14,000-square-foot property.
• PREIT buys 15th & Walnut corner [PhillyDeals]
More news this way… Read more »
Bye Bye, Big K!
Photo courtesy of Google Street View
Yesterday morning, based on a tip from an employee, we broke the news that the Kmart at the Gallery was going to close. Today the Business Journal sounds another Kmart death knell: the location in the Northeast will close as well.
The Gallery location’s closure comes at the cost of 120 employees, who will still have their jobs when liquidation sales begin Sunday, February 9th. Even more to look forward to are PREIT’s choices for new retailers: Will they be high-end, or Forever 21?
Read more »
Screen shot of JCPenney at Exton Square Mall via Google Street View
JCPenney will be shutting down 33 of its department stores, one of which is located at the Exton Square Mall. However, it looks like the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), the mall’s current owner since 2003, is seeing this as a “when one door closes, another opens” moment.
PREIT has a strong track record in redevelopment of its malls (Cherry Hill, Moorestown, and perhaps, the Gallery?) so the soon-to-be-free 118,00-square-foot space will actually allow the company to re-envision Exton as a retail draw.
PREIT CEO Joseph Cordiano told the Philadelphia Business Journal:
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The mysterious game-changing redevelopment project PREIT has planned for the Gallery has become a little less elusive. Sort of. Since October, PREIT has dropped more hints about what “transformative” retailers will bring to Philadelphia’s retail scene. From the Inquirer:
“We anticipate delivering a project that is a focal point for the City of Philadelphia, drives the transformation of the retail landscape in the city and the evolution of the corridor into a vibrant shopping, entertainment, and dining district.”
Apparently, the positive impact East Market Street gets will come from one of two ways:
“One is a high-fashion anchor center utilizing one of the four high-fashion department stores. Another possible alternative is what we call ‘fast fashion and food,’ if you will, and that is to redevelop [the area] more consistent with some of the more trendy suburban mall tenants – like the Forever 21, the H&M, the Uniqlo.”
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