The Gallery Is Covered in Dust and Debris

The Gallery - renovation

Photo | Dan McQuade

The escalators to the second floor of The Gallery don’t work anymore, but they’re still functional as stairs. “Thank you for the convenience,” I thought, quoting the late comedian Mitch Hedberg, as I walked up the stairs to stop at Villa.

The Villa is the last remaining sneaker shop in The Gallery, a mall that once had so many sneaker shops I was able to submit a mini-ranking of them in my ranking of Philadelphia-area malls in 2011. I went up to Villa — on the second floor of the gallery, which is actually the third level of shopping — to browse the racks of sparse, heavily discounted merchandise.

The Gallery’s remaining sneaker store is moving to the old Bare Fee/Showtime Shoes location on the 1200 block of Chestnut Street, and I picked up some cheap Stance socks before it moves at the end of the month. (If you think buying a pair of socks for $5 is silly, imagine paying $16 for a pair.) Read more »

Beyond the Gallery: Developers Snap up Three Properties on Market East

The Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia

The Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia

There’s an interesting wrinkle to the redevelopment of The Gallery at Market East into the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia. PREIT and Macerich, the partnership developing the future outlet mall, have also purchased three properties across the street from the current downtrodden shopping center.

According to a report from The Inquirer’s Jacob Adelman, Joseph Coradino, PREIT’s cheif executive, said the plan is to find new tenants for these storefronts after the retailers at the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia have been selected. They could be used to lure businesses who might not fit the plans of new shopping center, but want to be in and around the action. Remember, the East Market project is bringing apartments and gobs of retail to 11th and Market in the not-too-distant future–so there should be plenty of action in the coming years.

The Inky found out through city records that the pair bought the properties between 1010 and 1024 Market Street, which includes the wave-like Robinson department store building, under multiple (and difficult to identify) names in November 2014 for a combined $17.24 million.

Read more »

Market East: Gallery Rehab Won’t Be Finished Until at Least 2018

The Gallery - under renovation

The Gallery under renovation earlier this year. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

The Gallery won’t re-open as the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia anytime soon.

Macerich and Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, who are co-developing the transformation of the mall, say the project won’t be finished until 2018 or 2019 now. The news was first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer; Macerich VP Robert Perlmutter revealed the news in a conference call with analysts last week.

The Gallery, originally hailed as generator of urban rebirth, had lost its anchor tenants in recent years, and storefronts on upper floors were generally vacant. Though the mall still had a lot of foot traffic and generated respectable sales per square foot, its reputation, quite frankly, stunk.

The eastern half of the mall is closed; the western half (Gallery II) is slowly clearing out for redevelopment. When that’s done, PREIT and Macerich will rehab it into the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia at Market East. Read more »

Gallery I Is Staying Open Just A Few Days Longer

gallery-1-closing

The eastern half of The Gallery at Market East will be open a little longer.

Scheduled to close today, the mall will get about a one-week reprieve. No official closing date is set, but once some paperwork is finalized the eastern half of the mall — known as Gallery I — will close. The closure should still happen within days.

No stores have been open in that side of the mall for months, but commuters regularly use it to avoid the elements. The stretch goes from the larger food court at 10th and Market (which has been shuttered since early June) all the way to the PATCO and SEPTA stops near the Lit Brothers building at 8th and Market.

The closure could affect a lot of people: 26,000 people use Jefferson Station and 8,900 use the 8th and Market PATCO High Speed Line station every day. The Inquirer says PREIT, the owner, expects a two-year closure, though the closure of Gallery II —10th to 11th streets — closes next year. Read more »

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?

Read more »

Headlines: The Skinny on Changes In Store for Two Philly-Area Malls

15COR108-GalleryPP-9thMarket

Is a residential component coming to 9th and Market? | Rendering; PREIT

What a weekend! But the fireworks aren’t over as starting off this Monday’s headlines are two of the retail variety: Delaware County’s Granite Run Mall and Philly’s upcoming Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia.

First up, the Granite Run Mall in Media, which the Daily Times reports is now totally vacant, save for anchors Boscov’s and Sears. The last of its former 125 retail tenants shut down last week in the face of ending leases and to follow is a demolition expected “as early as this fall, according to Michael  Markman, president of BET Investments Inc.” BET, which acquired the mall for over $24 million last year, is looking to redevelop the property for a purported $20 million.

So what’s to happen with the 58-acre site? Per the Daily Times, BET envisions it becoming a “walkable, outdoor town center” with retail (including the current anchors), restaurant, residential, and entertainment amenities. The plan would happen over two phases. The Media Borough Council will review the preliminary land development plan for the project Monday, July 27.

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.

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 »

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