Eastern Half of The Gallery to Shutter in October


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?


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.

Read more »

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


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!

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