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.

Read more »

Headlines: “Momentous” Day As Committee Edges The Gallery Closer

15COR108-GalleryPP-9thMarket

Rendering via PREIT

Go ahead and double- or triple-circle June 18 on your calendar, especially if you have any interest in the major renovations planned by PREIT and Macerich at The Gallery (Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia). Why? The Daily News reports that the package of legislation was passed by a City Council committee yesterday and full City Council vote is expected in two weeks.  Here is what the committee approved:

  • $55 million tax break (TIF) for the developers
  • At least a $12/hr minimum wage for employees of the developers and their subcontractors (Ex. security, janitorial and maintenance workers)
    • Note: This is not a requirement for retail workers
  • City residents would get the first opportunities for employment at the mall
  • The right for kiosk vendors displaced by construction to relocate within the completed mall

Though he wouldn’t go as far as to say they’ve crossed the finish line, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger didn’t pull any punches when talking about the approval by the committee: “This is one of the quietest, most momentous days in Philadelphia real estate history.”

Hey, Philly! Let’s Steal This Idea:

Read more »

Headlines: The Divine Lorraine, Comcast Grab State Grants

Photo: Jeff Fusco

Photo: Jeff Fusco

We’re back with an update from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) again, where a few major projects in the Philadelphia area got the thumbs up (at least partially, in most instances) for grants aimed “to attract and retain jobs in Pennsylvania by targeting large, economically transformative projects for development,” according to the RACP website.

EB Realty Management Corp. was granted $3.5 million of the $5 million for activation of the Arcade at the Divine Lorraine Hotel. Liberty Property Trust landed $10 million for “infrastructure costs related to” the in-progress Comcast Innovation and Technology Center. The Philadelphia Museum of Art $5 million for “infrastructure renovations and improvements.” The two behemoths on Market East, East Market (Girard Square) and the The Gallery, were awarded $2.5 million, respectively. $3.7 million went to the development of the Chinatown Community Center, also known as the Eastern Tower Community Center.

For a look at some of the major projects that did, and didn’t, make the cut (they can re-apply), check out Joe DiStefano’s column in The Inquirer below.

 More Headlines to Make Your Monday Special:

Read more »

The Brief: Anthony Williams a No-Show at Dem (Dis)Unity Breakfast

This is the last time we'll run this photo. Promise. | Photos by Jeff Fusco.

This is the last time we’ll run this photo. Promise. | Photos by Jeff Fusco.

1. Anthony Williams a no-show at Democratic post-election unity breakfast to rally behind mayoral nominee Jim Kenney.

The gist: State Senator Anthony Williams was a no-show at a let’s-all-hug breakfast organized by party boss Bob Brady on behalf of Jim Kenney yesterday morning, Chris Brennan reports for the Inquirer. The entire point of the breakfast — which Brady graciously also hosted in 2007, when he was defeated by Michael Nutter — is to set aside any lingering hard feelings from the election (publicly, anyway), and make a show of backing the party’s nominee. Most of the breakfast attendees were Democratic ward leaders. Williams, in addition to being the (distant) 2nd place finisher in last week’s mayoral election, is a ward leader.

So where was he? Williams told Brennan that “he did not know about the breakfast meeting, received no invitation, and had no plans ‘to crash the party.'” That seems … dubious. Kenney shrugged it off. He told Brennan: “People take some time off … I assume that’s what it is, and I wish him well with the time he’s taking off to recharge and get back in the game.” Read more »

Headlines: Apartments Planned for Superfresh Society Hill Site?

Superfresh Society Hill

Image via Google Street View

The Superfresh in Society Hill is near and dear to the hearts of nearby residents. So, it’s probably a safe bet that near-neighbors will be paying close attention to whatever the future holds for the current site near 5th and Pine. Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal reports, “Alterra Property Group is in the preliminary stages of a proposal to construct a mixed-use development on a Society Hill property that now houses a Superfresh.”

It’s still early in the process (Alterra has the property under agreement), but Kostelni says that preliminary plans are to demolish the single-story building in favor for a larger, mixed-use apartment complex with “between 12,000 and 18,000 square feet of retail space.” Superfresh has a lease at the site until 2018. Lee Addimando, co-owner of Alterra, tells Kostelni, “we would love to try to bring back a grocery store.”

In Other News:

Read more »

Headlines: Planning Commission to Review Mega Projects at Monthly Meeting

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

It’s going to be a busy meeting today for the monthly Planning Commission meeting at 1515 Arch Street, with no less than four mega projects on the agenda for review. The list includes (among others): a review of the plans for The Gallery/Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia; the proposed purchase of land for a prison in the Northeast; the re-zoning of the block for the townhome project at the former Mt. Sinai Hospital in Pennsport/Dickinson Square West and also the acquisition of  0.8-acre parcel known as the Viaduct for The Rail Park. The meeting starts at 1 p.m.

The city recently proposed legislation that would give developers PREIT and Macerich $175 million over 43 years for “construction, maintenance and operating cost” for the newly created public space at the revamped mall, according to Jacob Adelman of The Inquirer.

More Headlines:

Read more »

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!

Read more »

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:

Read more »

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 »

« Older Posts