I Love My Job: The Man Behind Fashion District, the Gallery’s $420M Revamp

The massive new Center City mall opens Thursday. Here’s why Joe Coradino isn’t nervous.

PREIT CEO Joe Coradino at the Fashion District entrance at 9th and Market Streets | Courtesy photo

With Fashion District Philadelphia (FD) slated to open its doors on Thursday morning, all eyes are on PREIT CEO Joe Coradino, the man behind the former Gallery mall’s $420 million revamp. The development will bring more than 4,000 jobs and a bustling hub of fashion, dining, arts and entertainment that spans three city blocks. Needless to say, the pressure is high. But Coradino says he’s not worried. Here’s more on the real estate leader’s 16-year journey to rehab an iconic Philadelphia destination.

I grew up in… South Philly.

Something I miss about my childhood is…playing touch football in the street.

South Philly taught me…to work for what I want and never give up.

My time in the army… taught me discipline, focus and leadership.

Temple University denied my admission until I could… prove I could maintain a B average. My grades in high school weren’t exactly the best…

Fashion District Philadelphia is the city’s first “retailtainment” experience because… there is truly nothing like this in the city. With over 30 percent of space dedicated to dining and entertainment and a new retail epicenter, a modern downtown destination emerges. It’s a gathering place for all Philadelphians, visitors and commuters.

We landed on the name “Fashion District Philadelphia” because… we’re truly creating a new shopping and entertainment district in the city. Fashion is more than designer clothes. Fashion speaks to the flair for what’s new, novel, and fresh. That’s Fashion District.

My favorite thing about the new development is… all of the firsts. City Winery, Nike, AMC, Round 1, Columbia, Levi’s — more than 30 tenants are new to the market.

Something I learned about Philadelphia while developing FD was… Philadelphia is a world-class city and has something to offer everyone.

Something most people don’t know about me is… my love of art.

A big challenge with FD was… closing the property down for more than three years.

Some distinguishing characteristics about FD are… how it welcomes the pedestrian with two dozen entrances from the street, our $1 million art collection, and our commitment to local businesses with Uniquely Philly and REC Philly, in particular.

The Philadelphia region’s retail industry is… robust and growing.

Retail nationally is… evolving to meet a dynamic consumer.

E-commerce is… a necessary part of the retail ecosystem and complimentary to brick and mortar shopping.
The public pressure around this project has been…challenging and not surprising given the profile of the project.

FD will change the retail scene in Philadelphia by… creating a new epicenter for retail.

I’m nervous about… nothing. It’s really about qualifications, capabilities and execution, which is prevalent at PREIT.

When I’m not working I… enjoy jogging, biking and all things outdoors.

I am inspired by… challenges.

I wish I had more time to… travel extensively in Europe.

To all the people who don’t see my vision with FD, I say… look harder.

I went from being a bartender and truck driver to CEO of PREIT by… working hard, never giving up and never settling. I worked my way through Temple, graduated cum laude, and earned a full scholarship to the University of Arizona to study urban planning.

The best thing about Philadelphia is… Philadelphia is a city of bests. Its diversity, food scene, art offerings, historic legacy and now The District.

In ten years I will… hopefully remove “travel more extensively in Europe” from the list of things I wish I had more time for.