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?
Back in April, when PREIT’s plans were officially unveiled, it was also made known that SEPTA’s Jefferson Station and PATCO’s 8th and Market station would be open, but that access would be interrupted during construction for safety purposes:
Commuters will access mass transit during this period through street-level entrances at 8th and Market, 10th and Filbert, 11th and Filbert, and the Reading Terminal Headhouse at 12th and Market streets during the renovation.
Jerri Williams, director of media relations with SEPTA, said that they have been involved in conversations with PREIT since the developer first announced their intentions to redevelop the mall, and that they have “received our comments and concerns very well.” One of the key concerns for SEPTA was to keep the connection between Jefferson Station and the 11th Street Station open in order to provide easy access between the El and Regional Rail lines. Williams said it is SEPTA’s understanding that the corridor between the two will remain open.
“SEPTA riders who normally would have walked that pathway through The Gallery still will be able to ride on the Market-Frankford Line along the same corridor, as an option to walking outside,” said Williams. “So if it’s really bad outside, that’s an option.” Additionally, signs will be posted to direct commuters where to go to catch the train.
The Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), PATCO’s operator, emailed a statement today regarding the closure. “The recently announced closing of the eastern half of the Gallery and the passageway used by PATCO commuters, will mean that, as of Friday, October 2nd, our riders will have to walk outside to the Jefferson Station and other destinations.”
According to the statement, DRPA said they will also be posting signage as the date in October draws closer, “and will also alert our riders through social media, messaging in our stations, on-train PA announcements, posted maps providing alternative routes, seat drops and press releases to the local media.”
PREIT could not be reached for comment.
The overhaul will look to create a more open interaction between the mall and Market Street. Visitors will eventually be able to enter the stores from Market Street and a multi-story “glass-wall Center Court” will be introduced at 9th Street in order to create a new hub for the mall.
- Gallery to begin phased closing Oct. 2 [The Inquirer]