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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    Yeah, I'd like to visit the Phillipsburg Mall too. It already has a Dan Bell video posted, lol. But it's so far out of the way for me I might never get to see it in person.

    On the other hand, I managed to take a trip to Park City Center just outside the city of Lancaster. It was quite busy on an October Saturday and has a nice roster of tenants including popular names like Apple, Pandora, and Williams Sonoma. One corner of the mall's exterior has a lifestyle center with a fountain that is either defunct or already shut down for the winter. It was 61 degrees but it wasn't THAT cold. There is no indoor fountain either, at least not today.

    The most interesting thing to me about this mall is the unorthodox layout. Promise not to laugh? It's designed like a prison! If you stand in the very middle of the center court, you can turn and see down every corridor just like it's Eastern Staten Penitentiary. It's also mostly one floor except for a small section which includes a food court and Kohl's, which is a junior anchor here, on a lower level.

    The big anchors are JCPenney, Bon Ton, Boscov's, and Sears. The Boscov's, btw, is covered in corduroy concrete. There is no Macy's and I can't imagine why they wouldn't want to be here except that all the department store spaces were already spoken for. Macy's doesn't have a store anywhere between Allentown and Harrisburg and this might be a rare place they'd want to open a location if they get the chance.
     
  2. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    Cool that you checked out the Park City Center. I've been wanting to check out that mall, as I drive sometimes from Harrisburg back to Philly, but it appears to be a detour off the PA Turnpike. Last time I was heading back it was during traffic hours, so I couldn't fit it in. I'm always rushing back without much time. And, it is interesting that Macy's is missing in the most successful mall in Central PA. Maybe it should wait for either Bon Ton or Sears to close. It does operate in the Harrisburg Mall which is a ghetto mall.

    More locally, I did stop recently at Plymouth Meeting Mall. It appears there are a number of mom&pop stores - maybe more than before? Shoe Dept. Encore will be opening up soon there; I wonder if PREIT will court for that chain in Moorestown.. Also a big question is when PREIT plans to redevelop the macy's site over there. I recall reading it was to be restaurants/entertainment, but why not add atleast a new Burlington store, and have some more apparel chains in the area. I'd think luxury apartments (e.g. Avalon Apartments) would also fit in well. Avalon is one example of an apartment community that is part of a mixed use center in Hunt Valley, MD, and Plymouth might make sense following such redevelopment, atleast partially.
     
    #272 dontforget, Oct 6, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  3. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    If you travel to and from Harrisburg regularly, any chance of returning early so you can stop at at Park City? I guess the Harrisburg Mall Macy's is still doing good business even if most of the mall is on shaky ground. But I can see Macy's closing this location if they can get into Park City.

    I don't know what the status of the Macy's buildings at Moorestown and Plymouth Meeting is. PREIT's website still shows both malls at over 90% occupancy. That only makes sense if ownership hasn't been conveyed to PREIT yet. I was at Moorestown Mall last weekend and peeking through the gap in the doors there's no sign of any changes so far. I did notice a conspicuous Strawbridge's labelscar on the Rt. 38 side. The only other thing of note is that Halloween Spirit has set up a seasonal shop in the former Eastern Mountain Sports location.

    I also went across Rt. 38 to say my goodbyes to Kmart. This location has an unique facade for a Kmart and made me wonder about the building's history. I found Josh's photos and according to him this location began its life as a Korvette's. There's also a vintage "garden shop" sign on the west side in all lower case letters. Kmart Moorestown NJ
     
  4. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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  5. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    From CNN,
    JCPenney warns: Losses are growing

    Too bad for JCPenney I guess. We are just two months away from the end of the year. I wonder if by January of next year, we will hear of more rounds of slashing of stores? It seemed like this year there was already much trimming by macy's and jcpenney. As for Sears, it seems inevitable more store closings will be on the way.

    philly.com had an article from earlier this month:
    Mall musical chairs: How PREIT landed Zara at Cherry Hill Mall

    I visited the Cherry Hill Mall today and it was busy (typical for a Fall Saturday). The Zara seemed busy as well, and there was a young crowd throughout the mall. Nothing really new, but it just seems like 90% of the people in the mall were probably under the age of 35 - which is a different demographic than Moorestown Mall pulls.

    As far as musical chairs go, I kind of wonder if PREIT's Moorestown macy's plans aren't firmed, if it can negotiate with JCPenney for it to move to Moorestown. With some cash incentive as PREIT would likely benefit if JCPenney moved more than JCPenney directly benefiting. It would give PREIT much space for redeveloping the end where Modell's/JCPenney is located in Cherry Hill for a store like Primark that can fit in well with the Cherry Hill Mall and the demographic. PREIT could expand Cherry Hill with more stores, restaurants, entertainment venues for the millennial and younger generation customer.

    Another benefit is PREIT fills an unoccupied anchor space at Moorestown without having to tear down and rebuild, while having much better opportunities at Cherry Hill to build out more. Moorestown is just 3 miles east and jcp can pick up Burlington county customers and older shoppers that might be more inclined to shop at the store anyways. Just a thought. On the other hand, I could see JCPenney viewing the Cherry Hill store equivalent now as it's Philadelphia's location and it might reluctant to relocate when that store is presumably profitable, to move and take a risk with no guarantee it'd replicate it's Cherry Hill success in Moorestown.
     
    #275 dontforget, Oct 28, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  6. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    More details about plans for the Moorestown Macy's finally revealed: To replace Macy's, PREIT may redesign Moorestown Mall with discounters One of the newcomers is said to be a new to the market sporting goods store and in the comments, there's speculation its an outfit called Sierra Trading Post. Have you ever heard of them? I haven't.

    Moving JCP to Moorestown is an interesting idea which it might be too late for. Until 2017 unfolded in the menacing way it has, I thought JCP stood a very good chance of surviving. Now? The outlook seems much bleaker. Big mall landlords have been replacing Sears anchors where possible and now they seem to be taking a similar stance with JCP.
     
  7. Bixbyte

    Bixbyte Well-Known Member

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    Horror show just won't end for Macy's and Nordstrom
    More trouble in mall land: Wall Street is bracing for more signs of the retail apocalypse this week when Macy's and Nordstrom (JWN) detail the latest pain from the loss of mall shoppers who've migrated online.
    Worse than slumping sales, department stores are likely to paint a gloomy picture about their busiest and most critical time of the year. Morgan Stanley recently warned that sales will outright decline during the holiday quarter at both Macy's (M) and Nordstrom.
    The obvious reason for shrinking sales is that fewer and fewer Americans are heading to the malls to do their Christmas shopping. Instead of battling the crowds, they're finding great deals and more convenience on Amazon and elsewhere online.

    Horror show just won't end for Macy's and Nordstrom
     
  8. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    What isn't mentioned in philly.com, is the sq. footage of these two new tenants relative to the total space. It isn't that much, a total of 43,000 sq. ft, while the macy's structure is around 200,000 sq. ft. Instead what is written is "For the home furnishings store, HomeGoods owned by TJX Cos., comes to mind, while the second replacement tenant could either be a Dick’s Sporting Goods" which makes no sense, as these serve the region and are in close vicinity to the mall as well.

    I know demolition is expensive, but that leaves a lot of space that likely won't fit well to be leased. I wonder why PREIT just doesn't demolish the site, as redevelopment would permit for better fit if its going for discounters and more than two tenants. I guess we will have to wait for more details. I still feel PREIT is doing the absolute minimum in it's solution for the mall. I haven't heard of Sierra Trading Post, but the outdoorsy/sport niche store was done with Eastern Mountain Sports and it didn't fit in well at Moorestown. There is LL Bean and REI in Marlton that likely better target that customer. Back when Sports Authority closed, there was comments by people that perhaps Academy Sports would expand into NJ, but it mostly serves the southern states.
     
    #278 dontforget, Nov 5, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  9. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    Good point. That’s not much of the former Macy’s space at all. It sure doesn’t seem like PREIT wants to put a lot of money into Moorestown. At this point they might think it’d be throwing good money after bad. Oh well, if PREIT isn’t willing to make major changes here, eventually someone else will.

    Over this weekend I got to check out three malls: Willow Grove, Exton Square, and Plymouth Meeting. I mainly went to WG for my final visit to the adjacent Kmart which is closing in less than 10 days. Despite being mostly empty, the Big K didn’t look that bad inside. I’ve seen other Kmarts that were much more deteriorated with discolored ceiling tiles, broken fixtures, and stuff like that. The mall itself is still in good shape despite a slight uptick in vacancies. A seasonal Christmas shop is currently in the old Hollister location.

    At Exton, Gymboree is closing soon, Teavana’s fate is still unclear, and a regional chain called Jay Street games is opening in the GameStop spot. And seeing the entrance to Round1 right nexts to the medical offices is an interesting juxtaposition. One has all those flashing lights and screens while the other is defined by static, empty wall space.

    At Plymouth Meeting, which I went to on Sunday, there was no line to get into Legoland. Maybe the novelty is wearing off but I’m sure they still do good business. And in addition to the now open 5wits, PMM also has a new Build A Bear kiosk. Still no clue on what awaits the former Macy’s.
     
  10. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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  11. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    Is Coldwater Creek still a thing? I haven't really been on the lookout for them but I don't recall seeing any lately either. I have yet to visit the Promenade. But, exclusive stores aside, it looks like a glorified strip mall to me.

    Sears Holdings recently announced 60 stores to be closed in early 2018, including 18 Sears locations. While nothing in our area made the list this time, upstate PA malls are getting pounded:

    Kmart, Clarion, Clarion Mall
    Sears, State College, Nittany Mall
    Sears(asterisk), Pennsdale/Muncy, Lycoming Mall
    Sears(asterisk), Indiana, Indiana Mall

    Although its in NJ, Phillipsburg Mall is considered part of the Lehigh Valley retail market and their Sears is slated to close as well.
     
  12. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    Coldwater Creek was a chain with once up to 365 stores, and it went bankrupt, and slashed stores across the country, but apparently it survived online, and has been revived through different ownership and now has one store in Burlington, MA. I just found the name of the store to be interesting.

    The Promenade is somewhat of a glorified strip mall, like you mentioned. It'd be better if it was somehow connected to Marlton Square, which is another strip mall, that has Trader Joes, GAP, Victoria Secret, etc. but just further up the road on Route 73, so that there would be a greater critical mass of stores together.

    The Coldwater Creek took significant space at the Promenade though, and I figured H&M would one day make it to the Promenade, but it chose otherwise and went into Moorestown Mall instead for a secondary location to Cherry Hill. I found out it was J. Crew, that is the other tenant that had recently closed at the Promenade. That spot is a good location, so hopefully it will fill. J. Crew does operate in Cherry Hill Mall though.

    The dynamic of Promenade to PREIT's Cherry Hill and Moorestown Mall (and one time Echelon) interesting. Promenade does compete against PREIT's malls and vice versa. If it didn't exist, it's likely Moorestown could perform a bit better. At times, stores open in Promenade first, but ultimately settle in Cherry Hill Mall (J. Crew and Hugo Boss are two examples). Then there are other stores like Lucky Brand Jeans that are content to be in Promenade and haven't opened in Cherry Hill. The history also includes Pottery Barn, which originally was in Marlton Square, left it for Cherry Hill Mall. In somewhat reverse, Ethan Allen moved into Marlton from the west Cherry Hill/Maple Shade area.

    But it does seem in general, Promenade is slightly less upscale now than when it originally developed. When it leased to American Eagle Outfitters as a tenant, I figured it would trend more mid range.

    Anyways, J. Crew announced there will be more store closures:

    J. Crew will close dozens of stores by the end of January
     
    #282 dontforget, Nov 22, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
  13. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    Love it or not, the Promenade has definitely established its place in the South Jersey retail scene. With its location well past 295, perhaps it wasn’t even intended to compete with Cherry Hill and Moorestown at first. But times have changed and now everybody has to scramble to maintain market share.

    I took a little Black Friday expedition last week. After riding one of the Santa trains in the AM, I made my way out to Montgomery Mall. In a word, the place was hopping. A few new stores had opened since I was there last including an Eddie Bauer in the endcap space. To my knowledge, this is the first time this spot has been occupied since Boscov’s was torn down to make a semi-detached Wegman’s. So far they’ve managed to hang on to chains like Uniqlo, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor. And finding a seat in the food court to enjoy my lunch was a challenge…I was probably the only guy there who relished the fact that the place was so crowded! On the other hand, New York & Company is going out of business. Plus a couple stubborn vacancies by JCP and WhiteHouse/BlackMarket still persist. All in all though, this was one mall that still appears to be having a healthy Black Friday.

    Later on I also paid a visit to Plymouth Meeting and that place was not nearly as vibrant. In fact, it looked just a bit busier than normal for a Friday evening. This seems to be increasingly a go to place for families with small children but I guess that market segment alone isn’t enough to fill a mall. The parking around the restaurants was full but there were plenty of spaces available behind Boscov’s and, of course, a whole section of the old Macy’s lot was totally empty.
     
  14. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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  15. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for linking that. I've wondered for a long time when the mall will close. Bath & Body Works really doesn't want to move which is crazy but I guess not unexpected. It could find space in the ShopRite or Wal-Mart shopping centers in Burlington Twp. I'm not sure about the pantry but I'm sure there is space in those plazas or the numerous ones on Route 130, but it seems to not be able to afford a move. Possibly in a couple of years, we might be hearing about the Voorhees Town Center mall portion closing.
     
  16. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    Last I knew, just four national brands remain inside BCM: Bath & Body Works, Footlocker, Kay Jewelers, and H&R Block, which is either a seasonal or one day a week office. B&BW doesn't surprised me as they are one of the cockroaches of dead malls. GNC might have left only because they were preparing to demolish the Macy's wing. And I never knew a food bank was doing business in there but that might explain some of the weird table and chair arrangements I've seen in otherwise empty looking spaces.

    Voorhees' outcome is harder to predict because several government and non-profit offices are present. The township is essentially an anchor as they own their space. They are self-sufficient with private entrances and their own elevator and could easily go on if the mall corridors closed. The other non-retail tenants, though, rely on continuing mall access. This year the township put out an RFP for redeveloping the site. I haven't seen any news on what kind of responses they got. https://voorheesnj.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/VTC-RFP-Final-V1-1.pdf
     
  17. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    Foot Locker is apparently gone from Burlington Ctr.

    When Owings Mills Mall was in it's closure process, some chains moved to traditional (grocery anchored or big box) shopping centers nearby. The mall owner actually paid off macy's and jcpenney for their sites, and did an entire demolition. If such can happen there, I still don't get why PREIT can't demolish the Moorestown macy's structure and re-build (as the square footage of that area is quite extensive). But anyways, I digress.

    In the Owings Mills MD area, LensCrafters (usually found in enclosed malls) moved to a center with Wegmans.

    In South Jersey, B&BW is usually found in enclosed malls, but it has one location in the Ellisburg Shopping Center in Cherry Hill, now anchored by Whole Foods, in addition to a location in the Cherry Hill Mall. The Wal-Mart in Burlington is a large shopping center and draw, and there is a vacant Acme space, but it would have to be subdivided if it were to be suitable for chains like Foot Locker, and B&BW.

    Apparently Sears owns it's location in Burlington and maybe why it can last so long there. The mall owner, Moonbeam, though likely is stuck in a way with Sears.

    As far as Voorhees, I believe luxury apartments would be ideal but that area is somewhat saturated with lower end ones. It appears that Marlton seems to be a magnet for new luxury apartment development currently. There is diverse retail (like Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Promenade), and a more upscale feel in Marlton over the Echelon side of Voorhees, but Marlton is much farther from the PATCO line.
     
    #287 dontforget, Dec 7, 2017 at 3:54 PM
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 4:07 PM
  18. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    It's funny you should mention Owings Mills Mall. When I visited Baltimore I often made side trips to Owings Mills. The last couple times I went I was struck by how empty and worn the parking lots were and the sight of multiple empty anchors. Today circling Burlington Center evokes the same sense of desolation. Despite being nearly abandoned Owings Mills had a pretty interior with lots of marble flooring. But otherwise, both malls appear destined to share the same fate.

    BB&W seems to love being a dead mall feature but they don't always stick around. When I went to Boston last month and visited the Kingston Collection, I was surprised to see an empty BB&W façade. It turns out they moved to a nearby outdoor shopping center in Plymouth. The Kingston Collection is an interesting attempt at a mall reinvention where nearly half of the space is devoted to entertainment and activities rather than retail including a trampoline park and a go cart track.

    Being close to rail transit should be a plus. That's true for Collingswood, Westmont, and Haddonfield. But the communities surrounding Ashland and Lindenwold haven't been able to capitalize. For what it's worth, Great American Cookies and Philly Steak Co. are now closed. The latter has a note saying cheesesteaks are available at Enerjuicer...go figure! And Echelon Mall Ministries has also departed as they were closed on Sunday morning with accumulated mail on the floor. Santa was still getting a nice number of visitors though.

    SkyCity Blog now has articles on Neshaminy, Plymouth, and Exton malls. His outlook for these properties is bleaker than my own though not by a whole lot. Read and decide for yourself: Sky City: Southern and Mid-Atlantic Retail History
     
    #288 Nytecat, Dec 8, 2017 at 8:22 AM
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017 at 8:47 AM
  19. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    And I took a trip to Burlington Center last night. As dead as it’s looked in the last few years, it finally looks like it’s in the process of shutting down. Hewitt Jackson, Footlocker, and Kuttin Zone are gone. Merit Training must have split too as the doors heading that way are locked. There was no Santa, no decorations, and no Christmas music. In fact, no music at all. Just sad to see it go out like this. Even Granite Run and Cheltenham had mall Santas their last December in business.

    B&BW, Kay, a massage place, and the arcade were open. So was a prom dress shop saying a retirement sale was in progress. I think that was it.
     

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