Upscale Eateries Give Struggling Malls A Lift

After perusing a few boutique stores and getting her hair done at Rizzieri Salon & Spa at Moorestown Mall, Jamie McCulloh-Martin decided to go for dinner at Osteria a few doors down.

“I’ve been here more in the last 1½ years since [Osteria] opened than in all of my 22 years living in Moorestown,” said McCulloh-Martin, 50, owner of a physical therapy chain, who ate outdoors with her administrative director, Kelly Casio. “The mall is really changing, and for the better.”

In the new mall world order, you can taste Jose Garces’ tacos at Moorestown Mall, Bobby Flay’s burgers at Cherry Hill Mall, and filet mignon at Morton’s – the Steakhouse at King of Prussia Mall.

The mall and high-end restaurants have struck up a marriage that’s holding on to shoppers longer and generating a better return for powerhouse owners such as Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) and Simon Property Group.


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.


Cherry Hill Mall Turning The Big 5-0!

Map of New Jersey highlighting Camden County

Image via Wikipedia

Having grown up in Jackson Township, New Jersey, I vividly remember my mother’s excitement over the Cherry Hill Shopping Center.  This “mall” concept was like nothing we had ever seen before.  We did not fully comprehend what a “mall” was before setting foot in Cherry Hill.

I am sure my father was less than thrilled, but we made our way to the Cherry Hill Shopping Center to check it out.  I was  young and do not remember the shopping center as described.  My memory is more about my mother’s excitement than the actual place.  She talked about it with such awe and wonder.

In 1961, the largest mall in the United States and the first indoor, climate-controlled mall east of the Mississippi River opened across the street from what had been Cherry Hill Farm.  A voter referendum changed the name of the township from Delaware to Cherry Hill in 1962.  The rest they say is history!  

Between 2007 and 2009, the two-level, super regional mall received a $218 million renovation and was enlarged.  Nordstrom opened an anchor store two years ago today.  In addition to Nordstrom, the mall’s other two anchor stores are J.C. Penney and Macy’s.  The mall has 1,248,347 square feet of retail space and 160 stores.   Cherry Hill Mall website:

Today, Cherry Hill Township is home to 71,045 residents (2010 census).  The median household income (2010 census) was $87,392 and the medium income for a family (2010 census) was $104,983.  Per capita income for the township is $43,192 (2010 census).  (Think Limerick Township, on steroids)

In 2006, the township was named a “Best Places To Live” in the U.S. (Money Magazine) and the Philadelphia region (Philadelphia Magazine). 

The Cherry Hill Public Schools system has received national recognition and many awards for educational excellence.  The district has 19 schools, 11,800 students, 1400 employees, including over one thousand teachers.  In 2005 the graduation rate was nearly 100% at both high schools.

Factual data gathered from Wikipedia, Cherry Hill Mall website, and my childhood.