PhillyDeals: Is A High-End Retailer In Gallery’s Near Future?

Work crews have been hammering away, restoring the wood-and-bronze-accented central hall of the former Strawbridge & Clothier store downstairs at 801 Market St. from our Inquirer offices.

Rumors that Bloomingdale’s or another high-end department store will take the space have been current in the neighborhood.  Earlier plans and speculation had centered on a casino, a Target, or high-end restaurants.

Of course, Bloomingdale’s owner, Macy’s Inc., hasn’t announced a new Philly store.  Erin Halley, spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), told me there’s nothing to announce.

But retail-watchers say PREIT, which didn’t upgrade the Gallery complex when it improved its malls in Cherry Hill, Plymouth Meeting, and other suburbs in the late 2000s, finally looks ready to make a Center City move – especially since it agreed to pay $60 million to buy the last section it didn’t already own from Vornado Realty Trust last fall.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20130712_Is_a_high-end_retailer_in_Gallery_s_near_future_.html#H0ISG0TbHQrRt3SG.99

Project Assures Penn Street A Project Visibly Brighter Future

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

Penn Street is slated for $1 million in upgrades this summer that will include new and brighter streetlights from Second to Eighth streets.

It also will include replacing the gap-toothed crosswalks at Penn’s intersections with Second and Third, replacing the bouncy bricks with plastic grids like the crosswalk at Eighth and Penn.

Both projects will get underway at the same time, likely August or September, city Public Works Director Charles M. Jones said.

And he said both are funded by federal highway grants, not local tax money.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=483519

Makeover For Pittsburgh’s PPG Place May Include Grocery Store

PPG Place in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

PPG Place in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little more than a year after acquiring the Downtown complex, the owner of PPG Place is eyeing a property makeover that could drastically alter the food court and Wintergarden as well as the space fronting Market Square.

Highwoods Properties is seeking to upgrade PPG’s retail space and is considering the option of replacing the food court with a grocery, CEO and president Ed Fritsch said.

“We’re evaluating a number of options, and that certainly is one of them,” he said.  “It is still early on.  I think any Downtown worker or resident … would love to have that type of shopping amenity in Downtown.”

Highwoods paid $179.4 million in September 2011 to acquire the glass castle-like, six-building complex in the heart of Downtown and has boosted the office occupancy from 81.2 percent to more than 90 percent since then.  It also is in the process of making $17.1 million in capital improvements, including new signs and directories and modernized air conditioning and heating systems and elevators.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/makeover-for-ppg-place-may-include-grocery-store-669441/#ixzz2HR7nN5MJ