Greater Philly mall thread: The good, the bad, and the dead.

Discussion in 'The Suburbs' started by Nytecat, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    Every metro area has at least a few dead malls and Philly is no exception. Here’s a bizjournals article that jumps into that topic.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/philadel...02/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-in-area.html

    I found the inclusion of some malls from outside the usual metro area while ignoring other close by malls peculiar. They list malls in Berks county while overlooking Cheltenham, Exton Square, Philadelphia Mills, and Deptford. I’m going to expand on this selection a bit to add malls in the Lehigh Valley and Atlantic County in addition to the aforementioned omissions. Here’s how I group outlying enclosed malls within a 50-60 mile radius of Center City.

    Dominant.

    King of Prussia
    Cherry Hill
    Christiana
    Willow Grove
    Quaker Bridge
    Lehigh Valley Mall
    Market Fair (an affluent mini-mall in Mercer county that is not always named on mall listings)

    Moderately successful to moderately struggling.

    Deptford
    Hamilton
    Concord
    Exton Square
    Montgomery
    Moorestown
    Neshaminy
    Oxford Valley
    Springfield
    Philadelphia Mills
    Plymouth Meeting
    Cumberland
    Berkshire
    Palmer Park

    The dead and dying.

    Burlington Center
    Cheltenham (only one interior tenant left and may close any day now)
    Coventry
    Fairgrounds Square
    Echelon - Voorhees Town Center
    The remaining Lehigh Valley malls: Whitehall, South, and Phillipsburg.

    Except for Voorhees (which includes township government offices) and Burlington Center (major remodeling promised by the owner) these properties will probably be closing their doors in the near future.

    Recently closed or demalled:

    Granite Run
    MacDade (Now a strip mall except for a short interior corridor connecting a fitness center and a beer distributor…way to go, Philly!)
    Shore Mall
    Tri-State (a relatively unknown mini-mall in Claymont, DE)
     
  2. Hospitalitygirl

    Hospitalitygirl Resident Ornery Bitch

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    Where is the Roosevelt Mall on this?
     
  3. OakmontGuy

    OakmontGuy NE Philadelphia Proud!

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    That's funny. I was wondering about that too. Thought about asking it here earlier today.

    But then I noted that this is posted in "The Suburbs," and that he was talking about the "Greater Philly" area. And I thought to myself...if I were to ask why Roosevelt Mall was missing, Hospitalitygirl would SURELY correct me as she did in the Chain Establishments thread. :)
     
  4. Hospitalitygirl

    Hospitalitygirl Resident Ornery Bitch

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    ;)

    As Roosevelt Mall is one of the oldest malls in the region, I thought it deserved a mention.

    Also, is Philadelphia Mills the place WAAAAAYYY outside of Philadelphia or the renamed Franklin Mills? And since it's an outlet mall does it occupy the same space as most of the rest of the malls mentioned?
     
  5. daninpa

    daninpa Cheesesteak GURU!

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    Philadelphia Mills is the old Franklin Mills. The one up 422 in Limerick is Philadelphia Premium Outlets.
     
  6. Jayfar

    Jayfar I'm very old®

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    I thought the article was pertaining to indoor malls only, although it didn't explicitly state that. Are all the other malls listed indoor malls (or at least originally indoor malls)? Roosevelt, of course, is an outdoor mall.
     
  7. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    As Jayfar mentioned, this threat deals mainly with enclosed, climate controlled malls. But while Roosevelt doesn't blow KOP or Cherry Hill out of the water, it appears to be generally healthy and would be in the middle of the group if I graded it. Growing up I vaguely recall hearing a plan to enclose Roosevelt but, if so, it never panned out. In a sense they're ahead of the game because they've been "demalled" all along.

    And while Philadelphia Mills is historically an outlet mall, it appears to have gained more regular stores since coming under Simon's control. I don't think its enough of an "outlet" currently to be excluded from the list. Instead, as malls evolve to changing market conditions, many will bring in outlet stores in order to survive. The line will just get blurrier as time goes on.

    Philadelphia Premium Outlets is the biggest reason for Coventry Mall's demise. The thing that struck me about PPO when I was there is that the design lends itself very easily to future enclosure if they decide to go that route.
     
    #7 Nytecat, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  8. OakmontGuy

    OakmontGuy NE Philadelphia Proud!

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    I absolutely concur.

    I don't know if I totally agree with that. It seems a bit on the declining side if you ask me. They tend to be slow to fill vacancies and, as a result, look a bit "dark and abandoned" for extended periods of time.

    As to why it wasn't mentioned, I freely admit that I'm pretty biased in that regard. I've always felt that Northeast Philadelphia is widely overlooked and forgotten in many stories and studies that claim to include "The City of Philadelphia." Big things happen up here, things that I expect to be covered on the evening news, but many aren't...or if they are, are done so inaccurately.

    There even used to be a website dedicated to exposing how ignorant the news services and government are about Northeast Philadelphia. They would highlight street name misspellings, stories attributed to the wrong neighborhood, etc. One was particularly humorous/distressing: They ripped apart a news service for reporting a traffic accident "at the corner of Rhawn Street and Solly Avenue in the Lawncrest section of North Philadelphia."
     
  9. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    I haven't researched Roosevelt by sales per square foot, occupancy, or other criteria as I did with most of the enclosed malls listed. Off the top of my head it merits inclusion in the "moderately successful to moderately struggling" category even if it errs on the struggling side. Roosevelt is still home to Macy's and Sears which is pretty impressive considering middle class flight from this area is almost complete.

    I also agree the Northeast as a whole doesn't get the respect it deserves. I'd love to check out the website you're talking about if it's still up somewhere. Is there any way to give the Northeast the kind of publicity sections like Manayunk and Fishtown enjoy? Is it even feasible?

    ONE MORE THING! Why does the ability to edit posts only last for a short time? I'd like to modify the original post to explicitly say this thread is about enclosed malls in outlying locations. Places like Suburban Square and Roosevelt Mall, while noteworthy, are better discussed elsewhere. And the Gallery is a downtown mall that has endless threads in the Center City section so no real point touching on that here either.
     
    #9 Nytecat, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  10. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    Oxford Valley Mall is healthy and does have some higher end chains like Banana Republic and Coach. In that middle category, it's definitely up there at the top. However, it does also have a vacant end anchor store (former Boscov's) that has been vacant since 2008!

    Given that the demographics and overall location is desirable, I have wondered why a mixed use approach hasn't been considered to re-purpose that former anchor site. I'd think luxury apartments akin to what Voorhees Town Center has done would do really well in that spot. I was not too long ago looking for an apartment in that area, and found rents were quite high and apartments were old and in boring surroundings. Jobs are good in that area, and it's also close to the Princeton area job market, so finding renters willng to pay $1500-2000 for a 1 BDR wouldn't be an issue, if the unit was decent.

    Also on the middle category, I think Montgomery Mall has some momentum that if conditions improve further, it could get into that first category of dominant successful malls.

    It added several stores last year:
    Eight New Stores Coming to Montgomery Mall

    It would help either of those two malls if they could secure the Apple Store, for example.
     
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  11. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    I noticed in Moorestown Mall that a fairly large section was white boarded up, adjacent to Chipotle. This is where Sam Goody long time ago operated, along with New York & Company, Limited Too (later Justice), and 2-3 other spots recently. New York & Company is using temporary space in another area in the mall. The boarded up space is too large (as it once was for atleast 5 or so stores) for just a new New York & Company store, if that is what is going in there. I couldn't find any information. Does anyone know what is planned there?
     
    #11 dontforget, Mar 13, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
  12. gunsnrosesmz

    gunsnrosesmz Well-Known Member

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    Great question. I like to be on top of retail in the region and I hadn't heard about this move. I was there and had seen that large void. Cherry Hill Mall also has some blank spots too and I've been shocked to see some major stores not last all to long there. But back to Moorestown...that's a huge space where you could fit an Old Navy or Forever 21 type store.
     
  13. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    Old Navy is in East Gate Square, the big box center near the mall. It could be Forever 21 or H&M, but it's odd in a way that New York & Company would be booted out and forced to relocate elsewhere. On that note, there was little re-direction to where one could find New York & Company, which was further down the mall in a smaller space, or advertising that a new New York & Company coming soon.

    Somewhat tangential, but I thought Forever 21 or H&M or any chain would get more visibility (and better spacial separation from the CH Mall store) taking over the Coldwater Creek space in the Promenade in Marlton. That site is between Banana Republic and Apple, which is much better space than any vacant space in Moorestown Mall currently.
     
  14. pushpaw

    pushpaw Member

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    I went to Neshaminy Mall a couple weekends ago after a looong interval and found it profoundly weird.
    Since when does Spencer Gifts sell butt plugs? When I was a kid, they sold "muscle massagers" but you'd have to go to South Street to get the hardcore stuff. Also, weird massage parlors and headshop-esque stores. After leaving that mall I had to purify myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka.
     
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  15. pushpaw

    pushpaw Member

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  16. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    This is a month old, but it doesn't seem like it was discussed here regarding Burlington Center:
    SJ mall's renovation delayed

    "Pryor said that negotiating "REAs" - reciprocal easement agreements, such as one with Sears, the sole anchor - has been particularly tough. He said Sears controls significant mall space and still has rights of approval on any expansion and redevelopment plan by Moonbeam."

    It's kind of amazing that Sears, which is struggling, is intent on keeping Burlington Center site open and making re-development difficult. It also has Moorestown and Neshaminy stores adequate and not too far for Burlington Twp. residents. To those further north (e.g. Bordentown), Quakerbridge has a store as well. I'd guess that Sears Burlington employees maybe locals of Burlington City or Willingboro, that might not willing or content to commute to the Moorestown store, which is 10 miles south, if they were transferred.

    Also, there is a good dead mall video series on YouTube by Dan Bell. He has video coverage of the Burlington Center Mall, with the nice fountain that is in the mall. I've wondered if that fountain could be transported elsewhere.
     
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  17. OakmontGuy

    OakmontGuy NE Philadelphia Proud!

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    Did you happen to take a gander at some of the people walking around Neshaminy Mall these days? Successful stores cater to the types of people who shop there. That should answer your question. :)

    Recently I was there and saw a woman walking around wearing a thong...on the OUTSIDE of her clothing. Had so many holes in exposed parts of her body that I was amazed the drink she was drinking wasn't all over the floor. I shudder to think of what holes she may have in the covered parts...of which there weren't many, by the way.

    Do those waters contain eye bleach? Because that's what's generally needed after a visit to many area malls these days.
     
  18. gunsnrosesmz

    gunsnrosesmz Well-Known Member

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    Ah yes I forgot about the Old Navy there. Moorestown has so many open spots. If it wasn't for the Hollister by the fountain a good portion of that middle section would have no stores. You're onto something there with the Promenade spot. It's highly visible from Route 73 with no building blocking it. Many nice stores at the Promenade so it would seem like F21 or H&M may not fit in with everything else?
     
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  19. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    I haven’t been to Moorestown for over a year but even then they had a large walled off space. Not sure if this is the same location you’re talking about now. I know that the closed Osteria is supposed to be replaced with a new restaurant soon. Moorestown’s biggest challenge is being so close to Cherry Hill. Of PREIT’s local malls, Moorestown is right in the middle at sales of $348 per square foot which is better than Plymouth Meeting and Cumberland but worse than Cherry Hill and Willow Grove. To see how PREIT’s malls ranked in 2014 go here and click on the first search result (this was the industry report that led to PREIT's recent mall selling spree).

    https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=land+buildings+preit+nav+upside

    Burlington Center Mall has a different problem. While it has great highway access and good demographics in the immediate vicinity, for years it attracted riff raff from Willingboro, Mount Holly, and Burlington. That culminated in a violent battle between two gangs in 2007. Customers and stores have been leaving in droves ever since. With all that said, I wish Moonbeam the best of luck since this mall probably has no chance otherwise. I find it highly ironic that a doomed chain like Sears is giving Moonbeam such a hard time. It’s almost as if they’re saying If we have to die, you’re coming with us!

    And the Neshaminy Spencer's sells butt plugs?? While I've known some of their items to be risqué, I wasn't aware you could find actual sex toys there. :p Hopefully that and the exposed thong lady aren't signs that Neshaminy's clientele is becoming more...troubled.
     
    #19 Nytecat, Mar 17, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  20. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    Well, American Eagle Outfitters joined the Promenade a couple of years ago. When that happened, I figured the Promenade ownership, Kravco Simon, might be receptive towards mid tier chains. It of course wouldn't allow Dollar Tree to sign a lease there, but H&M, New York & Company, The Limited, Forever 21 and the like, might be suitable.

    Moorestown does fall in CH Mall's shadows, plus there are a lot of outdoor shopping centers (like East Gate Square) that essentially have tenants (Old Navy, Barnes & Noble, Dick's) that might otherwise be in the mall.

    It would have been interesting if Moorestown was de-malled to be an outdoor mall maybe an outlet style mall hybrid with the anchor tenants remaining in place. However, de-malling would have been expensive even though the Moorestown Mall is fully a one-level mall (except for the anchor buildings). And South Jersey now has a full outlet mall, Gloucester Premium Outlets, in Gloucester County now. I think it has affected Deptford Mall a little, as GAP (albeit a marginal chain) closed in Deptford Mall but has an outlet store in the Outlet center.
     
    #20 dontforget, Mar 17, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  21. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    Too bad they can't magically shrink Moorestown from it's current 1 million square feet to say 6 or 700,000. It's a decent mall but it's a tad too big for today's market conditions. But PREIT should avoid the mistake they made at Plymouth Meeting and Exton Square by adding doctor's offices. While that seemed like a good way to diversify excess retail space, it creates blank walls and deadens the adjoining mall corridor. A demall might be in Moorestown's future but that's probably far down the road.

    I was thinking about how Deptford would weather the upcoming storm when the Gloucester Outlets opened. I know it would hurt Deptford. The only question is, how much? It's still early and they will probably lose at least a few more stores to the outlets. On the other hand, Deptford is more prosperous than Pottstown so I don't think this mall is in danger of dying like Coventry.
     
  22. gunsnrosesmz

    gunsnrosesmz Well-Known Member

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    Maybe if we were in a warmer area they could have taken a chance to take some of the mall outside. Would have been a neat concept that I haven't seen personally. I was in the Deptford Mall when the GAP was shutting down and I was very confused how one of their larger stores was just closing down shop. I asked and they had told me was indeed for the outlets.
     
  23. Scoats

    Scoats Well-Known Member

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    Franklin Mills should add a senior citizen residential tower. That could work for other malls too.
     
  24. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    Offices would suck. I'd be fine with urban stores like Jimmy Jazz and Shoe Dept Encore opening in Moorestown than offices. CH Mall recently got Famous Footwear (that is typical in big box centers) inside the mall.

    The problem with the Deptford Mall is it isn't a power mall, on the par of Cherry Hill or Quakerbridge, for GAP to say it needs to be in there.

    However, Deptford Mall has great potential IMO with it's location. It was unfortunate that Simon didn't acquire the Strawbridge space when Macy merger happened (2006), but instead held off, until Boscov picked up that site. PREIT had to endure the redevelopment costs but reaped the benefit from the merger when Strawbridge's space was redeveloped at CH. For the foreseeable time, Deptford is boxed in with four anchors but the enclosed space isn't all that much.

    GAP is also an endangered brand. I wouldn't be surprised if they left CH Mall, for that Garden State race track shopping center, simply as rent costs are likely cheaper in the outdoor center than in CH Mall. At that point, it would only be in outdoor centers in South Jersey.
    Garden State Park

    Sidebar: I think there are more vacancies there in the race track center, than at the Promenade at Sagemore (Marlton) also. FYI, the Coldwater Creek space in Marlton also has another unoccupied store space adjacent to it. Not sure what was there before.
     
    #24 dontforget, Mar 19, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  25. OakmontGuy

    OakmontGuy NE Philadelphia Proud!

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    I'm curious: Why? What benefits would this produce? Do you think this would be popular?
     
  26. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    Some chains are apparently only willing to pay for one enclosed mall location in South Jersey and, no doubt, Cherry Hill is the go to destination for that. Having said that, Deptford is definitely the second strongest mall in the South Jersey market. I don't recall the exact figure but Deptford is said to gross something like $580 per square foot. That's impressive for a mall with few luxury retailers and better than Willow Grove which boasts Bloomingdales and an Apple Store. All malls in New Jersey, and elsewhere, are being challenged by the rise of outlet and lifestyle centers and that eternal boogieman, Amazon. Next to Cherry Hill, Deptford is best equipped to meet those challenges. Just for giggles I'll run down the remaining malls in South Jersey and the biggest issue facing each one:

    Burlington Center: Now SJ's deadest mall, its fate rests in Moonbeam's hands.
    Echelon: Overshadowed by Cherry Hill and served solely by narrow two-lane country roads.
    Moorestown: Also in Cherry Hill's shadow but at least they're convenient to I-295 and the Turnpike.
    Cumberland: Cumberland County's historically weak economy.
    Hamilton: Atlantic County's newly weakened economy.

    I'm not sure whether to count Ocean One-Caesars Pier-Playground or not. It's an enigma in an enigmatic city. I'll just leave it at that.

    Finally, Wegman's was heralded as a coup that would jump start the former race track site. But the nagging vacancies since they opened seem to say otherwise. :/
     
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  27. Scoats

    Scoats Well-Known Member

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    Franklin Mills has the same problem most Main Streets do, overcapacity.

    - Residential rental income would be an added revenue stream for the owner.
    - Onsite seniors could walk for exercise. A circuit is probably about 2 miles. No worries about getting it by a car either.
    - They already have health service providers as tenants. Onsite seniors would create demand for more doctors and other health services to fill vacant store fronts.
    - Seniors would provide daily demand for the food courts. And the place would look less desolate during the day. (Maybe it looks that way at night too - I have no idea, I go there once a year maybe).
    - Franklin Mills is cool in the summer, warm in the winter. Almost like living in Florida. Well better actually as Florida is hot in the summer.
    - SEPTA already comes right up to the door.


    And I know they changed the name. Franklin Mills wasn't a great name, but Philadelphia Mills is way too clunky so I'm sticking Franklin Mills. And it's historical, Ben ground his wheat there or something.
     
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  28. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    Franklin Mills has a bad reputation as a ghetto mall and no seniors are going to consider moving there. However Simon decided to retain this Mills center (it has ditched Mills in other cities like Cincinnati and St. Louis) and invest several million dollars in upgrades. That alone is a big vote of confidence going forward.

    Here is a tour of the former Cincinnati Mills. This colorful dead mall looks like a set from Nickelodeon studios.

     
    #28 Nytecat, Mar 20, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  29. gunsnrosesmz

    gunsnrosesmz Well-Known Member

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    I think Wegman's does well by itself but if folks go to Wegman's first i doubt that they'll stop in other stores with a trunk full of groceries but they may plan to visit Wegman's last and hopefully do some shopping.

    A problem that I believe everything faces on that site is the parking lot wasteland you have to walk across. Sometimes on busy days spots may not be available and walking across the parking lot isn't safe so customers may just leave.

    Oh that Racetrack site does seem to have nagging vacancies alright as so many of the stores by the Cheesecake Factory and Nordstrom Rack has closed over the past 1-2 years. Some of these were large properties too but luckily Jared took over for McCormick and Schmicks but there is still the vacany left by the steakhouse, the old toy store, the soft serve ice cream stand, and I think 1 or 2 larger spots.

    I remember growing up that Hamilton court had an indoor ice skating rink on a sheet of plastic. It was very interesting I'll say. I also recall Exhilarama in the Echelon Mall growing up to :).
     
  30. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    A lot of the esteemed mall stores like the Apple Store are in Pier Shops at Caesars. I don't know if those that live in some of the suburban areas of Atlantic County travel out to Atlantic City to shop or if it's too much of a hassle. But, I think the outlet center as well as the stores in the Caesars might make Hamilton Mall less important for retailers, even though Hamilton Mall is the really only fully enclosed mall around in Atlantic and Cape May counties.

    I do think it'd be better if say Sears were to close, JCPenney could move into that location which fronts Black Horse Pike, and part of the center part of Hamilton Mall could be de-malled. I think stores like Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods could work in Atlantic County, and Hamilton Mall would be destinational enough to work. The Macy's and the foodcourt are nice in Hamilton Mall, but the mall in general is rather weak. But some of that might not be economy of Atlantic County per se, but other mall challenges. Typically a mall doesn't get re-developed until there is an opportunity to do so, like an anchor that closes and a lot of land to rebuild becomes available.

    To that point, I think JCPenney might do well returning to Granite Run Mall, but take up a central highway facing spot between Sears and Boscov's, essentially where the enclosed part of the mall once was located. JCPenney seemed to have settled for a lot of suboptimal spaces in malls, typically spaces that don't face the highway directly, and then is the first to bail out when the mall traffic weakens.

    Sears is enigmatic to me. I was driving down 73 in South Jersey and noticed that Sears had closed it's Sears Hardware store in Berlin, NJ. If Sears can't make selling hardware work, what can it make work? I have my doubts if people in say Burlington Twp. are really heading to the Sears store for clothing when Target, Kohl's, and Marshall's are more convenient, online shopping is more a factor, and Moorestown and Cherry Hill have a better selection of stores if one is willing to travel a bit more. The Sears isn't even that visible and isn't advertised well from the Burlington Center signage. There is often potholes in the mall parking lot and drive into the Sears as well.
     
    #30 dontforget, Mar 23, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016

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