Developers Of Planned Lower Macungie Shopping Center ‘Trying To Bridge Financial Gap’

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

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

Developers of a proposed shopping center that would bring a Costco Warehouse and Target to Lower Macungie Township pitched their project to the East Penn School Board Monday night in anticipation of a future request for Tax Increment Financing.

Staten Island developer Timothy Harrison presented his vision for Hamilton Crossings – a $120 million, 580,000 square-foot shopping center proposed on 62 acres on both sides of Krocks Road between the Route 222 Bypass and Hamilton Boulevard. He told the school board he would be returning to ask the district to participate on a TIF committee.

Harrison and his partner Jeremy Fogel, executive director of The Goldenberg Group in Blue Bell, discussed financial hurdles involved with the site that are caused by geotechnical issues resulting from more than 70 years of use as an iron-ore mine. They told directors that much of the site consists of mine wash, a pancake batter-like substance that has to be removed and mixed with concrete or rock before it is returned to the ground. Harrison said the ground could not support buildings or a parking lot without remediation.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/eastpenn/mc-east-penn-lower-mac-tif-20120814,0,2514578.story

Berks-Area Malls And Strips Find Challenges Of Economic Downturn Linger

There is no question that retail businesses have been suffering for the past two years as a result of a weak economy.

Economists predict only slight improvement in 2012. So what does that mean for our local malls and shopping centers?

Shopping Centers Today, a leading publication in the industry, reported in January that shopping center vacancies in the United States averaged 11 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. That figure was up from 10.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 and not far from the all-time high of 11.1 percent reached in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Read more: http://businessweekly.readingeagle.com/?p=1899

Park City Center Plagued With Migrating Crows

After several weeks of citizen complaints about late-night booms, Lancaster city officials Thursday restricted the hours that Park City Center can set off its propane cannons that ward off crows.

The wee-hours detonations, which reverberated across the suburbs up to several miles away, were blamed on problems with timing devices on new cannons.

Mall officials apologized and said they would comply with the 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. time frame for firing the rooftop cannons.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/559311_Lancaster-city-restricts-hours-Park-City-Center-can-shoot-off-cannons.html#ixzz1i2x1UH39

J. C. Penney Store At King Of Prussia Mall Splurges On Remodel

King of Prussia Mall

Image via Wikipedia

J.C. Penney is the last original anchor store at the King of Prussia Plaza.  The plaza opened in 1963 with Penney’s, Wanamaker’s and Korvette’s as anchor stores.  To celebrate nearly 50 years at the Plaza, the store splurged on a makeover!

To read all about it, click here: http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2011/09/13/business/doc4e6fe79c39906162083352.txt

Granite Run Mall Gets New Lease On Life

The troubled Granite Run Mall in Delaware County will now be managed by Madison Marquette.  Madison Marquette will hit the ground running with planned improvements to the interior and exterior of the mall, in addition to aggressively trying to lease empty retail space (29 stores).

Madison Marquette is a Washington, DC-based developer and operator of retail and retail mixed-use real estate throughout the United States.  Madison Marquette maintains a regional office in Philadelphia at 1717 Arch Street.  Madison Marquette manages more than 20 million square feet of property.  They have a history of transforming failed retail projects.  For more information:  http://www.madisonmarquette.com/about_us/history

Simon Property Group has removed Granite Run from their list of properties on their website.

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:  http://cherryhillmall.com/

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, philly.com and my childhood.

Williamsport Scores A New Kohl’s Store Downtown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lycoming County

Image via Wikipedia

Kohl’s will be building a brand new store in downtown Williamsport.  The city will once again have a major department downtown.  The store will be built at Third and Williams Sts.  Construction will begin over the summer and the store is projected to open in October. 

The City of Williamsport owns the lot and was paid $1.6 million now and will receive another $1 million after the site pad is prepped on March 15th.  That will certainly fill the city coffers.

Williamsport, like many cities, lost much of their downtown after the Lycoming Mall opened and as strip shopping centers and big box retailers sprung up around the city and suburban areas.  I remember shopping at L.L. Stearns & Sons downtown back in the 60’s and 70’s.  Stearns was Williamsport’s big downtown department store back in the day.

Congratulations to Williamsport city officials for their perseverance.  It paid off handsomely.

Could Granite Run Mall Be The Next Entry On DeadMalls.com?

The logo of Simon Property Group.

Image via Wikipedia

Granite Run Mall, just outside of Media, Delaware County is slowly dying.  Empty stores and few shoppers is not a good sign of things to come.  Simon Property Group Inc. and Macerich Co. are the owners of Granite Run Mall.

Granite Run Mall may be up for a short sale or a take over by its lender because of a very late $115 million mortgage payment.  Simon appears to have lost interest in dumping more money into the mall.  Malls across America are struggling as consumers have turned to strip malls, outlet malls and big box retail complexes.  If Granite Run fails, it will be the largest mall to be sold or forfeited to a lender since the current recession started. 

Granite Run is a two-level, super-regional mall with 1,033,000 square feet of retail space.  The three anchor stores are JC Penney, Sears and Boscov’s.  Kohl’s is located outside the mall, along the perimeter, to make a fourth large department store at the mall complex.  The mall opened in 1974 and was remodeled in 1984 and 1994.

Carmike To Build At Upland Square – Commerce Corner Sputters

Looks like Carmike is heading across Route 100 to Upland Square shopping center.  Frankly, I would rather see Upland Square get filled up before we build another shopping center on the same intersection.  By the way, I would really like to see Pottstown Plaza get filled up!!!

Read the entire story from my good buddy Joe Zlomek over at the Sanatoga Post:

http://sanatogapost.com/2011/01/13/carmike-switches-sides-of-rt-100-to-upland-square/

Limerick Acme To Close In February

Acme closed their Collegeville Shopping Center store and moved it to 31 W. Ridge Pike, next to the new Court At Upper Providence Shopping Center, a few years ago.  Now it would seem the “new store” is under performing due to competition from Giant, Target and Wegman’s and will close by the end of February.

With the departure of Acme from Ridge Pike, the closest Acme stores within a 20 mile radius of zip code 19468 are Phoenixville, Norristown, Lansdale and King of Prussia.

The Wayne Acme is also on the chopping block along with three stores in New Jersey and one in Maryland.

Another big empty building!  Ironically, the old store in Collegeville was doing much better!  Just proves the grass is not always greener!

Another Downtown Pottstown Business Leaves For Greener Pastures!

For 20 years, East Penn AAA has been downtown Pottstown in the renovated freight depot.  Now, they are running off to Limerick Square Shopping Center on December 6th!  PeopleShare and Domino’s already moved out, leaving this beautiful renovated building empty as of December 6th!  PeopleShare moved to Lower Pottsgrove Township (just over the border).  Domino’s remained in Pottstown Borough and relocated to Pottstown Plaza.

Ummmmm….hello borough officials.  Did anyone try to relocate East Penn AAA within our borders?  We have shopping center space a-plenty at Pottstown Center and Pottstown Plaza, along with other areas of the borough!  After 20 years they up and move!

Update:  Councilor Rhoads responded to my question above:

“I previously talked with a lady at AAA about why they were moving and she said it was not due to any situation in Pottstown. She said Douglasville was their area boundary at this end and that they wanted to be more centralized. She said Lansdale is the nearest office that way.”

Many thanks to Councilor Rhoads for speaking with AAA and for taking the time to let us know that a community leader spoke with this business regarding their decision to leave Pottstown!

See Joe Zlomek’s informative article on the Pottstown Post:

http://pottstownpa.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/aaa%e2%80%99s-downtown-pottstown-store-hits-the-road/