Downtown Bethlehem Association Creates App For One-Stop-Shopping For Restaurants, Stores And Parking

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Downtown Bethlehem? There’s an app for that.

The Downtown Bethlehem Association on Wednesday debuted its new app that puts information about local attractions, restaurants, stores, hotels, parking and events all in one place.

“It’s a way for allow people to find things in Bethlehem all in one place – on their smartphone,” said DBA President Neville Gardner, who owns Donegal Square and McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar at Main and West Walnut streets. “Bethlehem may be a historic town, but we’re definitely in the next millennium.”

The association has been working to develop the app for more than two years, Gardner said. Smartphones are increasingly being used in making plans, officials noted.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/11/downtown_bethlehem_association_2.html

PhillyDeals: Expansion Planned At King Of Prussia Plaza And Court

King of Prussia Mall

King of Prussia Mall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Simon Property Group, the Indianapolis-based retail giant that owns 200-plus shopping malls nationwide, is sacrificing more than 400 parking spaces at its King of Prussia Plaza and Court to make room for at least 50 new stores and restaurants that it hopes will draw more wealthy shoppers to the region’s biggest retail complex.

At extra-large shopping centers such as King of Prussia, at least, “the mall business is good, contrary to some of the naysayers,” David Contis, president of Simon Malls and a corporate senior vice president, told me Monday.

His company bought out other investors to take control of the King of Prussia mall in 2011, in deals that valued the complex at over $1 billion.

Contis said he expected to attract luxury stores from outside the region and “the best of the Philadelphia eateries” to the new space, rather than shifting current tenants there.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20141118_PhillyDeals__Expansion_planned_at_King_Of_Prussia_Plaza_and_Court.html#4mWT6geTQWCWiwR1.99

Dilapidated Buildings Hinder Greensburg Downtown Growth

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leaky roofs and outdated structures are one big reason why about 20 percent of downtown Greensburg storefronts are vacant, despite businesses clamoring to move in, according to the Greensburg Community Development Corp.

The nonprofit plans to purchase four of the dilapidated buildings within the next year, and pursue private and public grants to fix them up and resell them to private owners, said Steven Gifford, its executive director.

Downtown real estate is in demand, with more businesses wanting to move into storefronts than there is space available, according to Gifford. Despite this, about one-fifth of the city’s 138 storefronts remain vacant, often because they are too run down or unsafe to occupy.

The development corporation has identified seven buildings with leaking roofs, and another five that cannot be occupied because of building code deficiencies, such as missing sprinkler systems and staircases.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/7098524-74/buildings-gifford-owners#ixzz3J9lEs6Fm
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Bottom Dollar Food Stores To Close By Year’s End And Be Sold To Aldi

The Belgium-based owner of Bottom Dollar Food stores plans to close its 66 store locations in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia markets and sell the assets to discount food competitor Aldi Inc. for about $15 million.

Aldi said the purchase is part of an expansion plan that will add 650 stores nationwide by the end of 2018.

Delhaize Group of Brussels said all stores are expected to remain open as Bottom Dollar Food stores until yearend. After that, banner will be retired. The sale of stores and leases to Aldi is expected to be completed by March 31.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/7104718-74/aldi-stores-bottom#ixzz3ILGhsZ8R
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South Bethlehem Historic Board Approves 9-Story Building After Previously Panning It

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After voicing strong opposition last month to a proposed 9-story building on West Fourth Street, the South Bethlehem Historic Conservation District voted 5-2 Monday to support the building’s design.

District board Chairwoman Beth Starbuck said she had been very troubled by the building’s height until she realized Hotel Bethlehem also was nine stories and doesn’t stick out badly on Main Street.

“I’m not happy with the scale of this, either, but I’m less freaked out about it — it just never occurred to me that the Hotel Bethlehem is that tall,” she said.

The board makes recommendations to Bethlehem City Council, and board Historic Officer Christine Ussler said there’s a fear if the board is often overruled by council “this developer and other developers will get the sense we don’t count.”

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/10/south_bethlehem_historic_board.html

Sears At Pittsburgh Mills Mall In Frazer Closing In January

Pittsburgh Mills

Pittsburgh Mills (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  First Century III, now Pittsburgh Mills

The Sears store and Auto Center at the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills mall will close in mid-January, a spokesman for Sears Holdings confirmed this morning.

The closing is part of the company’s strategy to reduce expenses and speed up the transformation of their business model, said company spokesman Howard Riefs.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourallekiskivalley/yourallekiskivalleymore/6975322-74/sears-store-mills#ixzz3GLaaXyie
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Bon-Ton To Close Two Of Its Stores

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Butler County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Butler County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. is shuttering two of its stores, citing low sales, the company said in a news release.

The Bon-Ton store in the Clearview Mall in Butler, Pennsylvania and the Elder-Beerman store in the Raleigh Mall in Beckley, West Virginia will close before January 31, 2015, when their respective leases end. Approximately 38 employees at the Clearview Mall Bon-Ton and 39 at the Raleigh Mall Elder-Beerman will lose their jobs, the press release said.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_26679132/bon-ton-shuttering-two-stores

Columbus Provides Blueprint For How To Develop Mellon Arena Site

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  We love it when folks use existing successful business models for a blueprint. Why reinvent the wheel when a tweak will due :)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — About $1 billion in development around an arena primarily for hockey transformed a dreary section of downtown Columbus that used to be an industrial area and home to a run-down prison.

“People didn’t come downtown very often, and they certainly didn’t live here. Things are different now. This is a place to be,” said Sherri Lyle, 44, of suburban Powell, who works in Columbus’ 14-year-old Arena District.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are paying attention. The team is preparing to develop a 28-acre site where the Civic Arena stood, across Centre Avenue from the $321 million Consol Energy Center that opened in 2010.

“We’ve sat down and talked with them several times about what they have done relative to development,” said Penguins Chief Operating Officer Travis Williams, noting the team studied similar projects in Cincinnati, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Jose, Washington and Pittsburgh’s North Shore.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6881016-74/arena-district-area#ixzz3FOBkt9TK
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New Plans For South Bethlehem Apartments, Stores And Offices Submitted

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A developer has submitted new plans for three buildings that will include stores, offices and apartments across from the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. site in Bethlehem.

Developer BethWorks Renovations has submitted plans for one five-story and two four-story buildings along East Third Street across from Northampton Community College.The company’s previous plans for the site called for one five-story and two three-story buildings, but its total of 111 apartments remains the same.

The company’s new plans are scheduled to go before the Bethlehem Planning Commission 4 p.m. Thursday.

BethWorks’ five-story building would be located at 422-430 E. Third St., which is on the corner of Fillmore Street. It’s proposed to have first-floor retail space and 96 apartments.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/10/new_plans_for_south_bethlehem.html

New Website Allows Customers To Shop Downtown Lancaster Businesses 24/7

Editor’s note:  We think this is a great concept and we like the fact that so many merchants are already on board.

About 30 businesses in downtown Lancaster have banded together and created a way for customers to have more access to their products.

The new website https://shoplancaster.net/ gives anyone unfettered access.  Save on gas, parking and time.  If you are busy, don’t live in the area or don’t have access to transportation, but enjoy shopping online, then this site is for you!

The website is easy to use, you can shop by vendor or type of product etc…

Just create an account and start spending!

Airmall At Pittsburgh International Celebrates New Stores, Renovation

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The place known for jet ways featured a runway Sept. 29.

The Airmall at Pittsburgh International Airport teamed with the Allegheny County Airport Authority for a special fashion event to mark the 15th anniversary of the airport authority and celebrate the completion of a $10 million renovation that created a new retail core in the center of the airport’s air-side terminal.

“Fly 2014: An Invitation to Fashion & Flair With Altitude” showcased the latest styles from the Airmall shops. The fashion show was the first event of this kind for the airport since it opened in 1992.

The show helped introduce new retail stores at the Airmall, including several international luxury brands. Italian-based Pinko recently opened its first U.S. store in the Airmall. Other stores include Furla, Lacoste, Armani Jeans, Hugo Boss, Tumi, Desigual, Collezioni — the Beauty Gallery and Bottega dei Sapori, an Italian specialty foods store.

Read more: http://triblive.com/lifestyles/fashion/6785773-74/airmall-airport-stores#ixzz3EprxD0v5
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RadioShack Decline Belies Its Longevity

By Fort Worth Star-telegram

Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

FORT WORTH, TX — During nearly a century in retailing, RadioShack has reinvented itself time and again as the American consumer moved from primitive radio kits to ever-sophisticated audio equipment, CB radios, and computers and wireless phones.

But now the Fort Worth-based consumer electronics pioneer finds itself tethered to a bygone era, with its 4,000 company-owned stores as much a burden as a benefit, its website delivering only modest returns in this cyber age and competitors — from behemoths such as Amazon.com and Wal-Mart to wireless providers — attacking on all fronts. The company warned recently that bankruptcy could be near if it can’t secure financing.

Just nine years ago, RadioShack enthusiastically opened its new $200 million headquarters, a complex of 900,000 square feet situated majestically on 38 acres on the banks of the Trinity River. With a 500-seat cafe, an open floor plan and a fitness center, it was supposed to help propel the chain to greater entrepreneurial heights.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6848703-74/radioshack-stores-company#ixzz3Ej79tvLU
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Gov. Corbett Announces Redevelopment Grant For Former Saks Site, Oliver Building

Trinity Epsicopal with its neighbors, the Oliv...

Trinity Epsicopal with its neighbors, the Oliver Building and the old Gimbels (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Surrounded by an array of Pittsburgh civic and development interests, Gov. Tom Corbett stood in Mellon Square Monday to announce a $4 million state grant to seed the redevelopment of the Henry W. Oliver Building and its neighbor, the former Saks Fifth Avenue department store.

Mr. Corbett told a small crowd overlooking the planned developments that the Henry W. Oliver Building had special interest for him because he had worked in an office there during his career in private practice before joining the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Noting that he had been in the city last week to release state funds for a theater project for Point Park University, Mr. Corbett called Pittsburgh, “a model for redevelopment and smart growth.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/09/29/Governor-Corbett-announced-redevelopment-grant-for-Downtown-Pittsburgh/stories/201409290199

Turning Up The Lights On Gray Market St. East

English: Lit Brothers Department Store, 701-39...

English: Lit Brothers Department Store, 701-39 Market Street (block bounded by Market, 7th, Filbert, 8th Streets) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (33 buildings built between 1859 and 1918, unified by a brick & iron facade). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Times Square-ification of Market Street East in central Philadelphia is underway, and it is starting at one of the most treasured buildings on one of the most stubbornly seedy thoroughfares in Center City.

Construction scaffolding has begun its crawl up the cake-frosting-white facade of the former Lit Bros. department store, a century-old architectural wonder that will be home to the city’s first flashy, high-tech video billboard screens.

Over the next three months, crews will work to install stadiumlike, wraparound LED signs rising 14 feet above the roofline of both corners of the landmark structure on the 700 block of Market Street.

Officials hope to light up Lits for the first time on New Year’s Eve – the holiday synonymous with Times Square, the Manhattan billboard mecca whose mojo Market Street’s boosters and investors are hoping to mimic.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140928_Video_screens_to_add_some_pop_to_street.html#pR6W1yWRRd3Al006.99

Downtown Inc Using “Destination Branding” To Market York Neighborhoods

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you name it, they will come.

Sonia Huntzinger, executive director of Downtown Inc, said that’s the theory behind York’s recent push to brand pockets of its 26-block downtown business district, creating a patchwork of neighborhoods that will each offer something different to regional visitors.

In the last two years, the nonprofit, which promotes revitalization of the city, has partnered with grassroots groups to demarcate several sections, including Royal Square, the Market District, Beaver Street and the latest, Weco.

The growth in destination branding, as the strategy is called, has coincided with Downtown Inc’s “Who Knew” campaign, a YouTube ad effort that highlights shopping and eatery options with the goal of bringing more foot traffic into local businesses.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_26617958/downtown-inc-using-destination-branding-market-city-neighborhoods

Sears Closing Store At Century III Mall In West Mifflin

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Sears store at Century III Mall is slated to close in early December.

A spokesman for Sears Holdings in Illinois said a liquidation sale is scheduled to start Friday.

“Store closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” said Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Sears Holdings, in an email.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/09/22/Sears-closing-store-at-Century-III-Mall-in-West-Mifflin-Pittsburgh/stories/201409220183

Old Republic Distillery Plans To Open Tasting Room, Retail Shop In West Manchester Township

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Soon, fans of Old Republic Distillery won’t have to travel to Seven Valleys to buy a bottle of its Apple Pie Moonshine or Blackberry Vodka.

The distillery is relocating its tasting room to the York Crossing shopping center in West Manchester Township. It hopes to open in a 1,300-square-foot space in the shopping center by mid-to-late September.

The move is expected to raise Old Republic’s profile and boost sales, said Denise Mathias, 45, who owns the distillery with her brother Bill Mathias, 44.

Old Republic, thought to be the only distillery in York County and the first to open here since Prohibition, has developed a loyal following since launching in March 2013.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_26285562/old-republic-distillery-plans-open-tasting-room-retail

Boscov: Mall Price At Sheriff’s Sale Probably Too High

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Department store owner Al Boscov is unlikely to bid when the Mall at Steamtown goes on the block at a sheriff’s sale next week, saying he anticipates the asking price will be too high.

The businessman has been unable to strike a deal with LNR Partners, the real estate company representing the mortgage holder, to acquire the mall but hopes to renew negotiations if the lender finds no takers for the property at the sale Tuesday, he and his lawyer said.

“At that point, it would be just as if we were buying a property in a private sales transaction,” said attorney Scott M. Esterbrook. “The (sheriff’s) sale is not the be-all, end-all. It’s one step in the process, and where we’re at today is we just haven’t reached an agreement yet.”

The mall entered foreclosure March 7 after owner Steamtown Mall Partners defaulted on a principal balance payment of $37.1 million due last July on its 2003 mortgage, setting up the sheriff’s sale. Mr. Boscov is a principal in Steamtown Mall Partners.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/boscov-mall-price-at-sheriff-s-sale-probably-too-high-1.1718214

Changing Skyline: Is ‘Over-Success’ In Development Hurting Philadelphia?

English: 1616 Walnut Street Building in Philad...

English: 1616 Walnut Street Building in Philadelphia. On NRHP since October 17, 1983 1616 Walnut Street in Rittenhouse Square East neighborhood of Center City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It wasn’t long ago that Philadelphia’s movers and shakers were lamenting that the city was being ignored by international retailers. Those chains finally discovered the city, and now they’re colonizing the shopping districts around Rittenhouse Square and the West Philadelphia universities at a stunning pace. Sometimes, the only way to be sure you’re not at the King of Prussia Mall is to look up at the sky.

Having gotten what it wished for, the city is starting to feel the first side effects of what New York urbanist Kent Barwick, former head of the Municipal Arts Society, identified as “the over-successful city.”

This may sound like an odd worry in a town that looks over its shoulder and still sees Detroit. It’s certainly great that the chains help draw throngs to Walnut and Chestnut Streets again. They’ve brought their stylish displays and uncovered the dormant charms of many old commercial buildings. Yet, there is a numbing sameness to much of the retail. You’ve seen identical mannequins in identical outfits perched in windows on New York’s Fifth Avenue, Boston’s Newbury Street, and Chicago’s Michigan Avenue.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/inga_saffron/20140711_Is__over-success__in_development_hurting_Phila__.html#OwFqlzCPsHwibjmA.99

Make Pittsburgh Your 2014 Summer Destination

Make Pittsburgh Your 2014 Summer Destination.  Great promotional video from VisitPittsburgh.