PREIT Selling Two Center City Properties As Part of Fund-Raising Strategy

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1501 Walnut

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 Steps Down as PREIT Executive Chairman

Ron Rubin in 2013 (Photo by Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan/Sipa USA)

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 »

Legoland Discovery Center Coming to Plymouth Meeting Mall

Image via PREIT

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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Philly Newspapers Sue Landlord Over Lack of Signage at Headquarters

The entrance to PMN's headquarters at Eighth and Market streets.

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 Closing, Catelli Duo to Move In

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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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Eastern Half of The Gallery to Shutter in October

15COR108-GalleryPP-9thMarket

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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PREIT Signs Up AT&T for Revamped 15th and Walnut Corner

Future AT&T Store at 1501 Walnut Street

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 »

Headlines: The Gallery Redevelopment Is Officially a Go

940x540 Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia rendering

Following City Council’s approval of six ordinances and one resolution regarding the Gallery makeover yesterday, Mayor Nutter went on to sign off on the legislation, essentially pushing the mall’s redevelopment closer to reality than before. With the $325 million project clearing all the city’s hoops, the long-awaited redevelopment is officially a go.

PREIT CEO Joseph Coradino called the day “a defining [one] for PREIT and retail in Philadelphia, as the transformation of the Gallery, an effort 12 years in the making, has taken a major step forward,” according to PR Newswire.

Part of the legislation that went through was a $55.0 million Tax Increment Financing deal, which the Inquirer’s Jeff Gammage reports backers consider fair since the city “failed to make required maintenance and improvement payments to the mall and because the investment will bring new retail properties, jobs, and revenue to the city.”

Demolition looks to be starting in August, with the Gallery set to close its doors in two phases. Construction is set to last for two years. A grand opening is expected in 2017.

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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 »

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