Morning Headlines: The Gallery Is Getting A $106 Million Makeover

Gallery

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 »

Philebrity’s Joey Sweeney Gets Real About the Gallery

Bye Bye, Big-K! Photo courtesy of Google Street View

The Gallery’s Big-K, now defunct.
Photo courtesy of Google Street View

I’m a little behind on my philebrity reading, so I’m only just now getting to the post titled “A Small Request: Will You Please Stop Talking About The Gallery In Wincing Tones Just Because Black People Shop There?” It’s a response, of sorts, to Inga Saffron’s latest Changing Skyline column about the Gallery, which was refreshing in its characterization of the urban mall as a thriving center of commerce but oddly devoid of any mention of race, which could be seen as progressive (it’s a post-racial America!) or simply evasive.

I’ve lived in the city since the Gallery was built, and the patrons and the attitude about those patrons have shifted considerably over the years, in the same way the conversation about South Street has changed. Which is to say: white people were perfectly happy to go to both locations and see them as reasonably successful until African-Americans started to go there as well. In 2006, Philly photographer Steve Ives, “an unashamed patron” of the Gallery, wrote about the mall for Philly Skyline:

If Chris Rock were a Philadelphian he’d call [the Gallery] “The Mall White People Used To Go To”. It seems that much of downtown, which heralded the promise of what The Gallery would bring to Center City, now see it as an embarrassment, as a liability, something to deter tourists from and deny the existence of to new Philadelphians.

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Video: Mega Malls and High-End Malls Are Doing Just Fine, Thank You

Solar powered Shake Shack opens in King of Prussia.

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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Morning Headlines: The Gallery Will Not Get High-End Stores

kmart gallery market east

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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Morning Headlines: Two Local Kmart Locations Will Close

Bye Bye, Big-K! Photo courtesy of Google Street View

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?
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PREIT’s Plans for the Gallery Are Less Elusive. Sort Of.

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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