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.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150524_Upscale_eateries_give_struggling_malls_a_lift.html#61pW5raHst0VyXYE.99

Developer Plans To Turn North Side’s Allegheny Center Into Technology Hub

A New York developer unveiled plans today to convert the Allegheny Center mall on the North Side into a technology hub and campus to be known as Nova Place.

The multimillion-dollar project being undertaken by Faros Properties will include an extensive renovation of the 1.2 million-square-foot complex, making it one of the largest redevelopment projects in the country, officials said.

Work will include upgraded offices, collaborative workspaces, new restaurants, a fitness center, a conference center and improved common areas.

In unveiling the changes, Faros announced that Innovation Works has signed a lease to occupy 12,000 square feet in the complex. The company will move from its current space in Pittsburgh to Allegheny Center next month and into permanent space in the fall.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2015/05/21/Developer-to-turn-Allegheny-Center-into-a-technology-hub/stories/201505210194

10 Reasons To Visit Downtown York This Summer

If you love bacon, beer and the beach, then a trip to York City might be worth your while this summer.

Downtown York might not be the island vacation you’ve been dreaming about, but you will be able to feel the sand between your toes during at least one York event this summer.

We spoke with Downtown Inc. marketing director Meagan Feeser and some downtown businesses about some of the events, attractions and activities coming to the city in the next few months.

See all ten reasons by clicking here:

http://www.flipsidepa.com/region-yorkhanover/ci_28145589/10-reasons-visit-downtown-york-this-summer?source=most_viewed

In The Lead: Carnegie / The Comeback Continues

Hans and Virginia Gruenert wanted to start a theater company when they lived in New York City. That’s where you’d do something like that.

But Off the Wall Theater Co. was destined to be born in Western Pennsylvania when Mr. Gruenert’s work brought the couple here in 2007. And after five years in Washington, Pa., they found a better fit in Carnegie.

Their decision happened to mesh with the borough’s trajectory of late.

The economic doldrums that gripped the region for years didn’t miss Carnegie. Then in 2004, when Chartiers Creek overran the business district as a remnant of Hurricane Ivan, dozens of businesses were damaged and many did not return.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/in-the-lead-2015/reports/2015/05/14/In-The-Lead-Carnegie-The-comeback-continues

Costco, Whole Foods Shopping Center Groundbreaking Set For This Week In Lower Macungie Township

A Whole Foods executive is slated to join Hamilton Crossings developers and local officials this week for the shopping center’s groundbreaking ceremony.

Whole Foods Market Executive Coordinator David Pinkney will be on hand for the Thursday afternoon event to be held at the future site of his company’s first Lehigh Valley store, developers announced Monday.

Representatives from The Goldenberg Group, of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, and TCH Development, of Staten Island, New York; state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie; a representative from state Sen. Pat Browne’s office; Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller; Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners President Ryan Conrad and Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. President Don Cunningham are expected to attend the 2 p.m. ceremony, as well. It will be held at 4972 Medical Center Circle near the Wescosville Recreation Center.

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/index.ssf/2015/05/costco_whole_foods_shopping_ce_5.html

A MATCH MADE IN…….POTTSTOWN!

#1In the fall of 2008 Ron Garza, chef-proprietor of Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine on High Street in Pottstown, was scouting locations to realize his dream of opening a fine dining restaurant.  Classical guitarist Russell Ferrara was, at that time, in the eighth year of disability from his lifelong music career. He was taking baby steps, post spinal surgery, to reactivate his performance activities.  He had just accepted an invitation join the music faculty of the soon to be opened Steel River Playhouse.

In early 2009 Ferrara began to notice construction activity at the northwest corner of High and Penn Streets just three doors down from Steel River Playhouse.  Spring brought signage which indicated that the storefront was becoming a Mexican restaurant. When work was nearly complete he walked in unannounced and began playing amidst the construction. Garza hired him on the spot and the two have remained close since.  Ferrara returned to Juan Carlos on Friday nights a few weeks ago after an eight-month absence during which he was on the road with his group Lackawanna Sky featuring Native American Flute player David Rose. Lackawanna Sky broke out at the April 2014 Launch Festival in Lancaster, PA where they were signed by Spirit Wind Records.  They subsequently toured in Georgia and Wisconsin, returning to PA to perform at the Kipona and Spirit of Oneness festivals in Harrisburg and in a continuing series of weekend performances in the Central Market of Lancaster. They are finishing up their first album and will return to Georgia in June.  Surprisingly, Ferrara credits much of this success to his tenure at Juan Carlos.

“I was introduced to the Native American flute at Juan Carlos,” Ferrara states. “On a quiet night I noticed a woman had lingered long past dessert. She approached me asking if I could wait ten minutes until she returned. She returned with a case full of flutes, chose one, announced the key and off we went!”  Within three weeks, the duo had made a demo and been accepted to perform at the 2010 International Native American Flute Association festival.”  That partnership did not work out long term but the recordings circulated and came to the attention of David Rose of Elizabethtown. Ferrara again: “David contacted me in June of 2013 as I was leaving for a tour with Candace Keach, Principal Flute of the Macon Symphony. Not long after I returned David and I gave our first ever performance at Juan Carlos.”

For his part, Garza was busy during Ferrara’s absence as well. Juan Carlos was nominated in two categories of the WPHL 17 ‘Hot List’ competition.  Garza brought home a win in the “Best Mexican” category as well as a second place in the “Best BYOB” category.  In addition, Garza collaborated with Steve Armstrong of Armstrong Ales in East Pikeland to create the first ever Mexican-style lager brewed in Pennsylvania.  Garza credits Ferrara with lending a hand in the first year the restaurant was open. “I guess we were a little green when we first opened.” Garza stated. “Russ introduced me to Anthony Bellapigna of sister restaurants Ariano and Fellini’s in Media, PA.  We met with him on a night that Russ was playing at Ariano.  Anthony helped me to streamline the menu.  He sent one of his best managers to Juan Carlos and made lots of great suggestions. Russ has been with me since the beginning.”

The two often talk about their goals and display a genuine regard for each other’s artistry. “I’m a foody,” Ferrara states. “My father owned restaurants and cooking is my hobby. I immediately noticed the passion and creativity that Ron displays in the kitchen.” Garza’s response to that was simply, “Yes, Russ and I are the same in that way.”

Juan Carlos, 235 E High St. Pottstown is open 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM Tuesday through Saturday. Catering is available anytime in the Wine Cellar.  Ferrara holds forth every Friday night.

From Beers To Burritos, Cinco De Mayo A Big Boost For Restaurant Owners In York County

Cinco de Mayo may be a relatively minor holiday in Mexico. But for restaurants in York County, the holiday is a big boost to the bottom line.

El Serrano’s two locations in Springettsbury Township and Lancaster, for example, are expected to do three to four times the business they do on a typical Tuesday, said Melanie Torres, who manages the Lancaster location.

Read about Cinco de Mayo celebrations in our area.

Mexitaly, a Springettsbury Township eatery whose menu features Mexican food, pizza and craft beer made on the premises, is bringing in extra help for Cinco de Mayo and ordering 20 percent more food ingredients than usual, owner Greg Skirboll said.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_28047513/from-beers-burritos-cinco-de-mayo-big-boost

Easton To Get More Apartments After Two Projects Turn To Office Space, Mayor Says

As Downtown Easton began its resurgence in recent years, first came nighttime foot traffic from people going to restaurants.

After the Pomeroy’s Lofts opened in the 300 block of Northampton Street, that added to the evening surge on the city’s sidewalks and into the city’s bars.

The Crayola Experience on Centre Square has for years provided a daytime tourist presence, and new retail locations and the farmers market have put some feet on the streets during daylight.

When Pomeroy’s developer Mark Mulligan bought the Wolf Building on North Second Street for conversion to apartments after Northampton County moved its human services operation to Bethlehem Township, the daytime/nighttime equation seemed to slide further out of balance.

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/index.ssf/2015/05/easton_to_get_more_apartments.html

Bethlehem Businesses Being Recruited For Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone

Many Bethlehem businesses are being recruited to move to Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone, which at least one Bethlehem official finds distressing.

NIZ developers — chiefly City Center Lehigh Valley — have approached at least a half-dozen Bethlehem businesses in recent months, the merchants said. Lynn Collins Cunningham, the senior vice president for Bethlehem initiatives for the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, said she’s disappointed by the recruitment effort — arguing it runs contrary to the stated goals of the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority.

“I remember ANIZDA Board Chairman Sy Traub saying that the purpose of the NIZ was to redevelop Allentown, not to hurt other communities. With the outreach to so many of Bethlehem’s downtown businesses, it doesn’t seem like that philosophy is being followed,” Cunningham said. “I have been and continue to be a big proponent of the NIZ, but not at the expense of Bethlehem.”

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2015/04/bethlehem_businesses_being_rec.html

26 Free Eats In Easton On Saturday

Looking to enjoy the sunny forecast on Saturday?

Spring into Easton returns noon to 4 p.m. The free event welcomes visitors to peruse Downtown Easton’s shops. Each participating shop will be partnered with an Easton restaurant that will be offering samples.

According to a news release, 26 participating shops will also have game cards that visitors can pick up and get stamped throughout the day at each shop. A full card can be dropped off at a concierge booth in Centre Square to be eligible to win Downtown Easton Gift Cards.

Check out the participating shops and figure out where to go for your favorite restaurant’s samples.

Read more:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/food/index.ssf/2015/04/17_free_eats_in_easton_on_satu.html

Vote Clears The Way For Food Trucks In York City

Free-market ideology narrowly overpowered fears of the unknown Tuesday with the York City Council’s 3-2 vote to legalize and regulate food trucks on city streets.

The decision marks the end of a long and sometimes divisive debate over the financial impact roving restaurants could have on traditional brick-and-mortar establishments.

Where some saw food trucks as a potential boon for a growing downtown business landscape, others saw a potentially diluted customer base wreaking havoc on profit margins.

In the end, mobile food proponents got what they’d asked for and more.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/ci_27869256/vote-clears-way-food-trucks-york-city

Fly Magazine Keep South Central Pennsylvania Up To Date On Entertainment, Dining and Nightlife

http://flymagazine.net/ is a great site to visit if you live in or visit Lancaster, York or Harrisburg.  Keeps you up to date on what’s going on, events, dining, music and arts and culture.  Happy Friday!

Grass-Roots Effort For A Marketplace In The Mall At Steamtown Continues

SCRANTON, PA — The idea of a Reading Terminal Market marketplace in the Mall at Steamtown is gaining momentum.

The concept to create a marketplace in a portion of the mall began nearly two months ago as brothers, Michael and George Boyd, both of Scranton, started a Facebook page to gauge public’s interest to save their city’s retail hub.

Thousands in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties have weighed in on the idea. Last month, the Boyd brothers said the positive responses were “overwhelming.”

Today the Facebook page, Reading Terminal Market at the Mall at Steamtown, has more than 5,800 “Likes” and is getting people talking about how to revive the mall.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-local-news/152278963/

Has Philadelphia’s Market East’s Time Finally Come?

If Philadelphia were a basketball court, Market Street East would be that inexplicable dead spot on the floor, the place where the ball just doesn’t bounce.

The eight-block corridor has four Dunkin’ Donuts and two Subway sandwich shops — but no outdoor cafe. A McDonald’s sits in what used to be a porn emporium.

The mid-street shopping selection on what should be a glittery avenue ranges from drug store to cut-rate clothing to cash-for-gold. Addicts come and go from a methadone clinic. The homeless own the corners, and the constant, rolling wall of buses fouls the air.

For years, when people like Paul Levy pitched the route’s potential to developers, they answered, “Yeah, I get it, but nobody goes to Market Street.”

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/business/Mall_to_the_Hall.html

Changing Skyline: Developer Roland Kassis Transforming Fishtown Into Hip Haven

Every changing neighborhood in Philadelphia seems to have one: a developer who dominates the scene.

In Northern Liberties, it’s Bart Blatstein. In Newbold, it’s John Longacre. In Point Breeze, it’s Ori Feibush. On South Broad Street, it’s Carl Dranoff. They amassed their real estate holdings when the neighborhoods were cheap, then became the masters of their destinies when the places emerged, Sleeping Beauty-like, from slumber.

Now, it’s Fishtown’s turn, and Roland Kassis is the reigning developer. Over 25 years, Kassis estimates, his company, Domani Developers, has collected a million square feet of property, mainly in old manufacturing buildings along Frankford Avenue, the neighborhood’s commercial spine. That’s almost as much space as the Comcast Tower holds.

Kassis, 44, who was born in Lebanon, raised in Liberia, and speaks French, exhibits the same manic energy and insatiable appetite for abandoned factories as the other neighborhood titans, but he has a sensibility more in tune with Fishtown’s arty, DIY, tattoo-and-vintage-loving culture. He not only nurtured a yoga studio on Frankford Avenue, he practices there and eschews meat. It’s hard to imagine many other Philadelphia developers chanting “Om.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/home/20150306_Changing_Skyline__Developer_Roland_Kassis_transforming_Fishtown_into_hip_haven.html#AgDY2fTHVBtIvMvF.99

First King Of Prussia Restaurant Week, dineKOP, Runs March 2 Through 8

UPPER MERION TOWNSHIP, PA – For seven straight days King of Prussia will be overflowing with enough asparagus bisque, Kona Crusted Sirloin, Chili Glazed Salmon and crème brulee to dazzle even the most jaded celebrity chef.

All those dishes and many more will be showcased by the town’s top restaurants during the inaugural King of Prussia Restaurant Week, also known as the snappily honed-down “dineKOP.”

Not surprisingly the brains and heart behind dineKOP, which runs March 2 through 8, is King of Prussia District (KOP-BID), producers of the annual Beerfest Royale.

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/lifestyle/20150227/first-king-of-prussia-restaurant-week-dinekop-runs-march-2-through-8

For Colony Of Merchants, Gallery Makeover Is Painful

Every day, Miss Anna comes to the Gallery – and on Tuesday, she was particularly elegant, in a long purple sweater, fashionable hairstyle, her eyebrows etched in darkly, perfectly arched.

“Her brother died two years ago,” said George Thomas, who owns the Creative Silver jewelry kiosk on the ground floor. “She was crushed. If I don’t see Miss Anna for two days, I worry. I call her.”

Who will worry about Anna Mazella, an Aramark retiree in her 80s, when Thomas closes his business – not by choice – at the end of the month?

In November, the Gallery’s owners, the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust and the Macerich Co., began to tell dozens of merchants that they would have deadlines to leave – some by the end of December, others at the end of January or February.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150121_For_colony_of_merchants__Gallery_makeover_is_painful.html#SEk4SQJIJbQS6D4o.99

Pizza Hut, Lone Star Closing Kidder Street Locations

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Two more national brand eateries announced on Monday that they are closing their doors.

One week after its Hanover Township restaurant closed, and following two years of disappointing sales on a national level, Pizza Hut announced that its Kidder Street location also will shut down this week.

And Lone Star Steakhouse, part of a chain that features a Texas-inspired menu, will close its Kidder Street location this weekend. Employees at the restaurant confirmed Monday that the restaurant would close permanently on Saturday.

No one at Lone Star corporate offices in Plano, Texas, could be reached for comment.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/business-local-news-news/151386496/

Costco, Whole Foods Shopping Center Tenant Roster Almost Full; Project Set For Spring 2016 Opening

LOWER MACUNGIE TOWNSHIP, PA – The Hamilton Crossings tenant roster is almost full, project developers Tim Harrison and Jeremy Fogel said Tuesday.

Nearly 100 percent of the retail and restaurant space available at the 570,000-square-foot shopping center has been leased, they said during a presentation organized by Commercial Real Estate Women Network Lehigh Valley.

“There are people that, personally, I’d like to fit, but we just don’t have the room,” said Harrison, of Staten Island, N.Y.

The Lower Macungie Township complex will feature several Lehigh Valley firsts — Costco, Whole Foods and Nordstrom’s Rack — but declined to name retailers or restaurants that have not previously been announced.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/index.ssf/2015/01/hamilton_crossings_lower_macun.html