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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    Faced with all that, a ShopRite at Voorhees sounds like an iffy proposition. I remember a Walmart was originally proposed for the Echelon Mall site until the community shot it down. Was that supposed to replace the entire mall or just the dead half with the closed up JCP and Sears? From now through June, at least, Voorhees is screening kids' movies in the food court on Wednesday nights. I'm curious to know what kind of turnout that generates and how helpful it is to the remaining businesses.

    As to Rue21, my guess is Moorestown and several others are too new to be closed. The locations being axed are probably due or close to their respective lease renewals. Their troubles have been well publicized lately and I'm surprised they opened as many new stores as they have.

    Finally, there was an article in the Burlington County Times about a rumor that Burlington Center Mall was going to close in March. That of course did not happen. Still, I'd like to see the article or at least get the gist of it but it's behind their pay wall.
     
  2. Shadowbat

    Shadowbat Well-Known Member

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    Moorestown Mall owner PREIT plans food market, new-to-region stores at former Macy's

    <quote>
    Plans call for dividing the building in three, with two of the spaces going to retailers that Coradino said do not now have a presence in the region. One of the two will be among the first of its kind in the country, he said.

    The food market will occupy the third space.</quote>

    <quote>PREIT chief financial officer Robert McCadden said during the call that a new “entertainment concept” had been signed at Plymouth Meeting, where the region’s first Legoland Discovery Center began operating earlier this month, but he did not provide any other details. It was not clear where in the mall the new feature would be situated.</quote>
     
  3. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    I'm kind of skeptical to PREIT's handling of Moorestown Mall since it winds up being a bizarre hodgepodge. They also are into just partially upgrading the mall at certain areas, but never fully, yet the mall isn't that big. As a one level mall that has great highway access, they shouldn't have a capacity problem to trim it now. It's not like the multi-level Exton or Plymouth Meeting where PREIT has issues filling corridors on multiple levels.

    Yet at every attempt to revitalize Moorestown, PREIT does something asinine. Like adds Chipotle, but the Chipotle doesn't have an internal mall entrance and it added away from the food court area. It added Corner Bakery Cafe, which is nice, but it's put in the mall lot as an outparcel, rather than attached to the mall with an entrance. It added a boutique row but puts it by Boscov's (which is anything but boutique in nature) and makes it a random and very small mix of stores and services with no real connection to each other. The Eastern Mountain Sports was also a questionable addition and of all places by the Sears.

    And these "first of a kind" type of stores in a marginal mall also leaves me skeptical. Didn't Christiana Mall once bank on some "Epicenter Collection" in 2007-2008. And what did they get in the end as the replacement for Strawbridge's and Lord & Taylor? A Nordstrom and Target, the latter the most mainstream choice. And Christiana is much more destinational than Moorestown.

    So now that's my opinion. Now, back to what might happen:

    I'm guessing the food market choice might be The Fresh Market. I think that I read that The Fresh Market was considering the former Borders spot in Marlton but passed. Marlton already has Rastelli's Market Fresh and a Whole Foods. I've seen The Fresh Market near the Towson Mall Towson MD) so it might fit in at Moorestown. Another option is another Rastelli's Market Fresh.

    If the macy's building is divided by three, and not demolished, I wonder which stores get internal mall access and which do not. And more info is needed about these stores.
     
    #213 dontforget, Apr 27, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
  4. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    Just the latter - the dead half. I think more luxury apartments or maybe senior living, would be fine as a replacement to the macy's.
     
  5. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    It’ll be interesting to see how the VTC Macy’s is ultimately repurposed. I just don’t foresee any outcome that retains the building largely as is. On the other hand, I wonder if the atrium of the former S&C at Plymouth Meeting can be turned into a grand staircase for a new hotel?

    I used to think of the separation of A malls from B and C malls as something relatively new, like a trend that emerged from the 2008 recession. But apparently it’s been going on a lot longer than that. Look Out Below!
     
  6. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    In Voorhees, I do like the new apartments that went up in the mall, but there are a lot of undesirable apartments just outside the mall area. VTC itself is close to PATCO as well, which should be another draw for those who like speedline convenience, over an apartment complex in Marlton.

    It'd be a bigger draw for people to consider living in that area if the Camden County Voorhees branch of the library was newer and modern like the Cherry Hill Library. Just build a new clone and put it at the macy's spot. But when it comes to taxpayer dollars, few would like the idea of their taxes going up to support a new library. But if the town center is to succeed, and overall perception of Voorhees, it needs to be a little nicer. A grocery store and pharmacy would also be helpful as well to balance the live/shop balance of the town center, perhaps even something as low key as Murphy's Marketplace and a CVS.
     
    #216 dontforget, Apr 28, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
  7. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    A CVS at VTC sounds like a good idea. What does the existing pharmacy landscape look like? I'm not overly familiar with the area and the closest one I'm aware of is the relatively new Walgreens at Lindenwold Station (which replaced Pufferbelly). Drug stores in malls is one of those trends that seems to come and go. But malls like Exton and Plymouth meeting which house doctors' offices should definitely have them.

    Last weekend I visited Concord Mall and Brandywine Town Center. Concord Mall has more vacancies than I like to see but is still successful. It's just not as strong as you'd think it would be with no sales tax in Delaware. And BTC is a pretty bizarre looking design. It almost looks as though it was once an indoor two level mall but it was carved up for big box tenants from the get go. What would have been the center court houses Bob's Discount Furniture and it was very strange seeing all that furniture under the enormous skylight.
     
  8. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    Interestingly, there was once a CVS inside the Echelon mall, but it lacked a pharmacy and this was back in the late 90's when CVS stores without pharmacies were in malls.

    And a pharmacy as a standalone building was planned in the Voorhees Town Center concept (around 2006/2007) but it never was built. I think it was actually outside the mall premise though, like where the old YMCA building.

    It is interesting after all these years that Rite Aid still operates in King of Prussia Mall but King of Prussia Mall defies most trends for malls.

    I have a friend that lives in Hunt Valley Town Center in Hunt Valley MD. It's a true mixed use center that was once a mall, with luxury apartments, light rail to Baltimore Amtrak, downtown and BWI, but it has the convenience of grocery store (Wegmans) and many dining and shopping choices. A Sears is an original tenant that was there from mall to today.

    At VTC, the restaurants are there, but the major lacking element is a grocery store and pharmacy. Obviously Wegmans would be too big, but something small might work.

    On another note, it's also quite sad the way the food court is dying out so fast. It likely won't be long that the entire enclosed section mall will be dead.

    enerjuicer is odd that it once operated at Cherry Hill Mall, but is somehow in Voorhees Town Center currently.
    It's website lists four locations, two in our area, and one in Tampa, and one in Tel Aviv!
    The Enerjuicer
     
    #218 dontforget, May 2, 2017
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  9. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    Brooklyn Pizza also opened in VTC, in the location of Lorenzo's Pizza this week. I guess it somewhat softens the blow of the loss of Chick Fil A and Qdoba.
     
  10. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    In the late '90s, I started traveling to Baltimore for fun. I heard about Hunt Valley Mall, but by the time I got there, it was already in the process of being demalled. OTOH, I was able to witness Owings Mills' sad, inexorable decline. I got to say my final goodbyes TWICE in 2013 and 2014 because the final closure date kept being pushed back.

    I paid a visit to VTC on Wednesday to see what movie night was like. Unfortunately, as of 6:30 pm, there is a still lot of daylight in the food court and the picture looks very washed out. I'm sure this worked much better during the winter months. The turnout was very low too...only three or four parent-child groups were here to watch.

    I thought about getting dinner from Brooklyn Pizza but since they're new I expect them to stay awhile. I had Burger King instead since I suspect they're gone once their lease comes up. FWIW, Auntie Anne's closed their locations at 30th Street Station too. Are they also in the midst of downsizing??
     
  11. Jayfar

    Jayfar I'm very old®

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    Yes, I noticed that just within the past few days. And Cinabon has closed there as well. Both closures occurred sometime since last weekend.

    EDIT: As I suspected, both are owned by the same corporate parent. I can't find any articles about them closing locations, so probably just an expired lease agreement, which they chose not to renew, at 30th St. Maybe Amtrak is upping the rents there?

    I noticed today that there's already a coming soon banner for Philly Pretzel Factory at the vacated Auntie Ann's in the SEPTA concourse. Their pretzels are typically 75 cents (even less when buying more than one) versus $3.29 each for Auntie Ann's; different recipe, but still.

    Focus Brands | About Us | Over 3,800 Locations Worldwide
     
    #221 Jayfar, May 5, 2017
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
  12. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    Another change at VTC is the outside wall that faces the main parking lot between the mall and the town center side has graffiti.

    Spreading Love With Graffiti Art in Voorhees

    I don't think PREIT would have ever allowed that. While the graffiti is meant to be positive, it's still is graffiti and can be off-putting to some.

    I disliked it more than liked it, but that's just my opinion.

    At VTC or in South Jersey in general, there is a little nice, surrounded by more not so nice, in appeal. Anyways, I've learned when in South Jersey, it's much a car dependent lifestyle and you just drive to where you want to go and avoid what might be unpleasant on the eye. For example in Voorhees alone, while it's paltry in retail and has empty storefronts, Voorhees still is a hub for good Indian food and grocery stores, and has a nice Virtua gym and movie theater (former Ritz), and of course good PATCO access. If one wants retail, it's to Cherry Hill, Marlton or Mt. Laurel, but those areas have something lacking of it's own as well.
     
    #222 dontforget, May 5, 2017
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
  13. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    That's right, I noticed Cinnabon high tailed our of 30th as well. Know something funny? Amtrak has no big in station advertiser at the moment. No big banners, the Carlton Card shop is uncovered, and the small signs in the concourse and on the regional rail platform are touting Amtrak Guest Rewards.

    I noticed the graffiti but didn't think much of it. As a sanctioned visual art, it could have looked nicer. But apparently the township is OK with it as their elected officials see it every day. I don't see how PREIT would have gone for this either.
     
  14. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    While outside the Philly region, a picture Sears of Woodbridge NJ is shown in this article:
    Sears just hinted at another round of store closings

    It's interesting because I think that mall serves a densely populated area, and is supposedly a major-two level mall and upscale mall. Sears might not even be able to support what should be a tier 1 store and even those stores will be bare here and there.

    Down in Columbia Maryland, it's being reported that Sears will subdivide while subleasing part of the store to Barnes & Noble and another tenant. It's probably Baltimore area's top mall or atleast the top mall that has a Sears.

    In the Philly area, the strong malls that still have Sears are Willow Grove and Quakerbridge, probably followed by Oxford Valley and Exton, and I wonder if Sears might sublease some of these especially the first two malls that command high rents.

    I was in Texas helping a friend move and we went to the Vista Ridge Mall northwest of Dallas. That mall was a B mall and the Sears furniture section looked shabby much like that photo. I found a nice looking sofa on sears.com, but in store, there was practically nothing. The in store experience was 180 different with the furniture section very bare. I guess that I take for granted how well Boscov keeps a furniture dept. in every store.

    I kind of thought that Sears was closing, but it wasn't. I walked to macy's furniture, and it was well kept showroom, but quiet. Typical of macy's furniture, price points were high though.
     
    #224 dontforget, May 15, 2017
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
  15. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    Sears' inexorable decline is unfortunate but something the industry will have to deal with nationwide. I think Macy's and JCP were counting on Sears going belly up well before now. Because that hasn't happened, they're being forced to close way more stores than they were expecting. The stronger malls are doing a better job of preemptively replacing their Sears anchors. Capital City Mall's closure was actively sought by PREIT which is why Dick's is going in so fast. CCM is also replacing Old Navy with a Dave & Buster's. Dave & Buster’s to open at Capital City Mall And speaking of Sears, I get a big kick out of the Vineland store which looks to be stuck in the 70s. It's amazing this location is even open.

    And it's official, Schuylkill Mall will be closing later this year. I was hoping the movie theater and a lobby section including two of the mall's distinctive fountains would survive. But that won't be the case because the Pearl now says they plan to move. Schuylkill Mall closing for good
     
  16. Jayfar

    Jayfar I'm very old®

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  17. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    I had a chance to visit the Lehigh Valley Mall and Montgomery today after a road trip, and I visited these malls perhaps after 2-3 years. LV Mall is more successful but it's a primary mall of it's region.

    At Montgomery, the second level is stronger than it's first level, and stronger by the Dick's/Wegmans side. Wegmans doesn't have an internal entrance to the mall, but it's nearby easily walkable convenience likely helps the mall side that is nearest to it. Banana Republic, and some upscale stores are by that side. A new Eddie Bauer store just opened in the mall. There seems to be new stores coming up there and even other parts of the mall, so I'd say it's doing ok. The lower level esp. by the JCPenney is likely the weakest area of the mall.

    It's definitely stronger of a mall than Exton, Plymouth Meeting, Moorestown and Neshaminy, but not as as strong as Cherry Hill, Christiana, Willow Grove or obviously King of Prussia. It's possibly even stronger than Deptford and Oxford Valley. It's somewhere in the middle :) AFAIK, that area is in a growing part of the Philadelphia region, so that might help over time.

    Regarding Sears, it's still surprising to me that Sears has all of these stores open: Moorestown, Burlington, Neshaminy, NE Philly and Oxford Valley and they are not all that far apart from each other. I would think Burlington could close and maybe help Moorestown and Neshaminy, as many Burlington Twp residents shop down in Moorestown area and travel to Bensalem (through Burlington Bristol Bridge) already. I don't know how the Burlington Sears continues to survive every store closing list.

    I had recently done a Pittsburgh to Buffalo drive, and stopped in Erie and went to the Millcreek Mall. It's a destination mall in a sense (according to wikipedia) as it borders other states and very convenient off the highway and a good stopping break between the bigger markets, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Boscov's is in process of replacing the Sears building there.

    I was wondering if Boscov's is eyeing the former Sears in Walden Galleria in Buffalo as well, another destination mall that attracts Canadian shoppers. Walden Galleria is more upscale so the rent might be too high for Boscov and Walden Galleria might want a Nordstrom over a Boscov, but I don't know. It's almost two hours north of Erie's Millcreek Mall and both are worth checking out.
     
    #227 dontforget, May 20, 2017
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
  18. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    I'd love to see Lehigh Valley Mall someday but it's not on my radar right now. I don't have a car and I've already decided if I can I'm gonna visit Berkshire Mall instead. But I should make it to Montgomery Mall in the near future without too much trouble and see how they're doing which sounds pretty good from what you're saying.

    I don't know what keeps the Burlington Sears going either. It never looks busy when go there and it's attached to the region's deadest indoor mall that hasn't closed altogether. Glad you got to check out Millcreek Mall.

    And work continues on demalling Cheltenham. It's finally been split into two sections as shown in their brochure seen here. http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/a8ffb1_36dd3c0a48d049f1b961e0da174b3026.pdf I hope the skylights and distinctive latticework ceiling survive into the finished product even if they are carved up into separate stores.
     
  19. MarketStEl

    MarketStEl Will Work for Food, But Prefers Cash

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    From the floor plan in the brochure, it looks like the interior mall is going away completely along with that center section of the existing structure. Every retail space in the revised plan faces outward onto the parking lots.

    IOW, Cheltenham Mall is getting the Cedarbrook treatment.
     
  20. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    An analyst at Seeking Alpha tears PREIT a new one, saying all their malls but Cherry Hill and Willow Grove are dead. An Undeniably Weak Portfolio With Pennsylvania REIT - Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE:PEI) | Seeking Alpha

    That's the idea. The mall interior was dead for over a decade and it's finally being done away with. I wish I got to see Cedarbrook Mall in its original state.
     
  21. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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  22. Jayfar

    Jayfar I'm very old®

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  23. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    Strange this quote is in the article:
    “It’s like what Willie Sutton said about why he robbed banks, because that’s where the money is,” said Craig Johnson of consulting firm Customer Growth Partners.

    Not sure of the connection of robbing banks to the changes in shopping centers.
     
  24. Jayfar

    Jayfar I'm very old®

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  25. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    Here's an interesting article that compares a metro area's buying power with its amount of retail space. While all but three cities have lost ground, Philadelphia has actually held its own compared to the US as a whole. It includes several charts that help readers visually grasp the problem.

    These Cities Have Too Many Stores, and They’re Still Building

    While it's one of those "I'm surprised they didn't close ages ago" situations, I'm still sad to see the Vineland store going out of business. They lasted so long in an economically challenged town and they even refused to relocate to the then new Cumberland Mall. I'll always remember it for it's 60s or 70s lettering and outdated décor. Plus they have the banner touting the city's 3 1/2 reduced sales tax as part of an urban enterprise zone. It's not easy but I will try to visit one more time before they call it quits.
     
  26. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    It also had an opportunity to relocate to the Kmart (now closed) across the mall since it has owned both. I forgot about the 3 1/2 reduced sales tax there. The Best Buy (near Cumberland Mall) also enjoys it so hopefully Best Buy, Dick's and Boscov's get enough customer traffic and continue to do business there for a long time.
     
  27. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    20 more Sears stores closing: see the list

    None are in the Philly market, and Burlington Center is still spared.

    PREIT's Valley Mall in Hagerstown which lost Macys, will now lose Sears as well. Hagerstown also has a destinational outlet mall, that competes against the indoor PREIT mall.

    Boscov might take an interest but it might hold off for more Sears to close and go into a mall with stronger traffic, around more population density or less competition. For example, if Sears were to close the Ross Park Mall site in Pittsburgh area, Boscov could get into that mall which is a stronger mall and get back into Pittsburgh

    On PREIT, I still find it bizarre that it redeveloped Voorhees Town Center, and demolished the JCPenney/Sears and 1/3 of the enclosed mall, but with Moorestown, it doesn't want to redevelop. It could tear down the Macy's and downsize that wing, then build a big box row, with Marshall's, Home Goods, Lidl, Rastelli Market Fresh, Raymour & Flanigan, Toys R Us/Babies R Us and maybe a freestanding CVS. And it could build a 38 visible entrance with the Lord & Taylor name, helping expose that chain better off Route 38. All would be familiar and/or popular draws into the center.

    There is still no word on the retailers that are replacing the macy's there, and the macy's end of the mall will still be a dead end of the mall with PREIT's plan.
     
    #237 dontforget, Jun 24, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
  28. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    Also in Moorestown Mall, the Corner Bakery Cafe has closed and Zumiez closed inside the mall. The Corner Bakery Cafe was in a outparcel and not well part of the mall. That site was once a Potbelly.
     
  29. Nytecat

    Nytecat Well-Known Member

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    I'm not surprised to see Zumiez go. Like most mall chains, they're cutting dozens of locations this year. Payless Shoes just expanded their closing list to 800 stores and they're getting rid of ALL south Jersey mall locations except, perhaps, Deptford. Most of their PA mall stores are closing too. I didn't see Delaware on the list.

    I think I read somewhere PREIT is subdividing the Moorestown Macy's for three retailers but it gave no further details. It's obvious Moorestown Mall will not be completely occupied again, at least not with mostly retail tenants. Someway they're going to have to find other uses for the excess space. Exton, which appeared to be stable for a time, is also bleeding tenants again. They've recently lost Rue 21, GameStop, Payless, and a couple other stores. If it's any consolation, even the strongest malls have noticeable vacancies in today's harsh retail climate.

    I recently got back from Seattle and I managed to visit some of their malls including Bellevue Square, Northgate, and The Commons at Federal Way. Bellevue Square is a top tier Class A mall in an urban business district and the other two are Class B suburban properties. I'll try to talk more about them later. Seattle also has a very strong downtown retail market that includes two separate but adjacent urban malls. This article has a nice overview on how Seattle's malls are doing better than the nation as a whole.

    Malls are not dead (at least in Seattle, where they are changing to remain vibrant and popular)
     
    #239 Nytecat, Jun 30, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2017
  30. dontforget

    dontforget Well-Known Member

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    I was at Voorhees Town Center today and saw that Kay Jewelers was closed, leaving no jewelry store in the mall. Unlike a going out of sale, employees were packing up everything in boxes. I don't remember if it has been gone already, but Auntie Anne's Pretzels, a typical mall staple, is also gone. Interestingly, Auntie Anne Pretzels are now found in Wal-Marts.
     
    #240 dontforget, Jul 11, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017

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