Red Lion’s Downtown Keeps Adding On

A new specialty bakery and handcrafted gifts shop in Red Lion is one of many additions to what is becoming a busy downtown scene in the borough.

“It’s something that’s been steady over time, but seems to be really picking up as we go,” said Carol Leas, owner of George’s Famous BBQ and president of the Red Lion Area Business Association.

When Ashley Bonhoff decided she wanted to open her own storefront in the downtown area, just a short distance from her own home, it seemed like the perfect location, she said.

The idea for her business, called And Everything Beyond at 101 S. Main St., came after years of compliments from her friends and family who enjoyed her homemade birthday cakes and other treats.

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First Friday In Lancaster City Draws Thousands To Downtown For Food, Music and Shopping

Another great First Friday in Lancaster City.  The day appeared to possibly be “iffy” weather wise but despite some ominous looking clouds at one point in the afternoon, the sky cleared in the early evening and the sun came back out.

There were a bevy of food trucks on the plaza next to the Hotel Lancaster. Musicians lined the streets. The pianos are back and we didn’t pass one that somebody was playing.  We even heard some very good jazz being played in Lancaster Square.  People from many cultures mingled and enjoyed the entertainment, shopping, eating and warmer weather.  The Lancaster Police Department was present along with the Ambassadors ensuring everyone behaved themselves.  There was even a break dancing competition going on next to the food trucks that drew a very large crowd.

We also checked out the new pop up pocket park on Prince Street before the First Friday throng arrived. What a nice thing for tourists and city residents, alike.  A coffee company and an ice cream vendor (selling Carmen & David’s ice cream) have set up shop here.  The park makes use of a parking lot which eventually will be a boutique hotel.  The asphalt was been painted, trees and flowers and seating were added.  There was even a television crew there from Blue Ridge Cable TV who were filming and interviewing the vendors.  Many people were checking this out.  When we went by much later in the day it was very full!  People were really liking the space!

Lancaster is such a great example of what revitalization can do for a downtown.  Up until the 90’s there was no reason go to downtown (other than Central Market).  Now, it’s full of shops and restaurants. There are always people on the streets taking advantage of all downtown has to offer.  There is nothing better than spending time in a vibrant city!

To check out Passenger Coffee Roasters, click on

Overhaul Possible For West Mifflin’s Century III Mall

The Century III Mall could be in for a dramatic makeover as the owner considers demolishing part of the complex to provide more retailers with outside entrances and bring in medical offices and a hotel.

A preliminary plan posted — and later removed on Thursday — from the website of the mall’s owner, Las Vegas-based Moonbeam Capital Investments, called for opening the center part of the 1.3 million-square-foot complex so that it would resemble more of a outdoor shopping plaza.

It also called for a movie theater and 14,800-square-foot hotel, as well as transforming a vacant Sears store into medical offices or an assisted living facility.

Calls and email messages left for Moonbeam officials were not returned. However, West Mifflin officials said they had been talking with Moonbeam about the overhaul.

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Add $325 Million To Price For Philadelphia Gallery Makeover

The Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust and the Macerich Co. say it will take $325 million in new investment to transform the Gallery at Market East into what they are calling Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia.

That is on top of the $250 million already spent by PREIT to assemble what had been privately owned property in the project area, bringing the total development cost to about $575 million.

The rest of the area still owned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority will be conveyed to the developers as part of the revitalization plan being reviewed by City Council.


Changing Skyline: Could Haddon Township Be Cool As Collingswood?

Editor’s note:  This is a very good article about how to revitalize an urban walkable community. Maybe some of the Pottstown leadership might take 5 minutes and read something constructive on how to bring about revitalization.  A simple phone call to either of these communities might provide invaluable information.  People like to share their successes!

For years, planners and residents have been trying to understand why Haddon Township isn’t more like Collingswood, the millennial enclave that is South Jersey’s answer to Fairmount and East Passyunk. Situated side by side in Camden County, the two towns are old-school commuter suburbs, with small house lots, good sidewalks, and great transit to Center City. They even share a main street, Haddon Avenue, which runs through the center of both.

The pair are models for what smart-growth advocates call walkable urbanism, but Collingswood’s downtown is by far the buzzier place. You can stroll for blocks along its part of Haddon Avenue, poking into vintage stores, stopping for coffee, enjoying an al fresco meal at a BYOB. In the evenings, it’s common to see pedestrians toting a wine caddy or pushing a stroller.

In Haddon’s downtown, known as Westmont, you might not see any pedestrians for blocks.

Westmont is a frustrating example of potential unrealized. Like Collingswood, it boasts a burgeoning restaurant scene and a weekly farmers’ market. It has some great blocks filled with early 20th-century storefronts that would look at home on Passyunk Avenue. But those destinations are just lonely islands in a stream of dreary strip malls and parking lots.


Lancaster City Seeks Proposals For Bulova Building, Adjacent City Property

Lancaster city is formally seeking proposals for the vacant Bulova building and adjacent city-owned property in hopes of connecting a stagnant part of downtown.

The city intends to use eminent domain to take the Bulova building at North Queen and East Orange streets. That means the city would pay fair market value for the property and the building’s lien holders would then be paid.

The city issued requests for proposals on Friday.

Randy Patterson, the city’s economic development and neighborhood revitalization director, said the property is in a critical location downtown.

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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.


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:

Boscov: Mall At Steamtown Changes Must Get My Approval

Repurposing the troubled Mall at Steamtown as a Reading Terminal-style market, a casino or a skating rink will remain a dream.

That is because the mall’s lease agreement with Boscov’s Department Store allows the anchor tenant to veto significant changes like that, said department store chairman Al Boscov in an interview at The Times-Tribune, a Times-Shamrock newspaper, on Monday.

Boscov’s Department Store will likely be among bidders in the June 1 – 3 auction of the Mall at Steamtown and the goal will be to buy the mall and keep the mall all — or predominantly — retail, he said.

Boscov wants to keep people with ideas of re-purposing the mall, some of whom he called “cranks,” away from the auction scheduled by LNR Partners, the mall’s caretaker since it was taken over by lenders following foreclosure.

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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.

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Royal Square Development Scores More Stores For Downtown York City

It isn’t supposed to be official yet, but a map of the Royal Square district in downtown York includes four new businesses expected to open later this year.

The map of the district was being distributed Sunday at district businesses during the annual Olde York Street Fair.

Dylan Bauer, the vice president of real estate development for the company, said the maps were not supposed to be released yet, but that he would soon be able to comment on the new businesses.

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Progress 2015: Wilkes-Barre, Pittston Lead Charge In Revamping Downtown Ecomomic Atmosphere

Shopping outside from store to store has almost become a thing of the past in some areas. But don’t tell that to downtowns in the Wyoming Valley, especially Wilkes-Barre and Pittston.

Downtown shopping in both communities is thriving thanks to the advancements each city has made over the past several years. Couple that with the excitement and enthusiasm of business owners and residents and youv’e got a recipe for success. The success in downtown Wilkes-Barre starts with Public Square.

Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association President John Mayday, who is a resident of South Wilkes-Barre and does all of his shopping in the downtown area, said the excitement and enthusiasm is something he hasn’t seen before. And it can only get better, he said.

“New businesses are constantly moving in,” he said. “Our mission is to create the opportunities for our customers and residents to come downtown. They’re been absolutely well-received by the public.”

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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.

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Lancaster, Strasburg Among Top 10 Most Beautiful Towns In Pennsylvania

WP_20150413_15_01_39_ProThe folks at the Culture Trip recently released its guide to the 10 most beautiful towns in Pennsylvania, and two of their choices are located here in Lancaster County.

Related: Central Market among top 10 fresh markets in the world

Lancaster city was lauded for its “unique shops and boutiques, a plethora of outstanding restaurants and a beautiful countryside,” while Strasburg was recognized for its railroad attractions and its countryside, which was described as “rich in history and beauty.”

Related: Lancaster dog park tops list of 10 best amazing dog parks in U.S.

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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.

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Hazleton Alliance Predicts Revitalized Downtown With Strategic Plan Completion

HAZLETON, PA — If the strategic plan for the continued revitalization of downtown Hazleton becomes a reality, the planner believe Broad Street will again be filled with shoppers, students, employees and neighbors, bringing fresh blood, an improved streetscape and a much needed increase in economic activity.

The five-year plan, which outlines specific strategies for achieving goals, was finalized last week after nearly a year of meetings, surveys and pubic input.

Krista Schneider, executive director of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, the non-profit organization which commissioned and coordinated the effort, credits its Board of Directors, area leaders and Hazleton residents for their support of the project and willingness to “think outside of the box” when it comes to the city’s future.

Schneider said the effort reflects goals directed by Pennsylvania’s Main Street Program, a four-pronged approach that includes organization, promotion, restructuring and design.

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PREIT Reveals The Gallery’s New Look

Everything about the decrepit Gallery at Market East may be about to change.

Under an intended top-to-bottom renovation, one of Center City’s most notorious dead spots would be reborn as a gleaming glass-and-steel emporium – brimming with brand-name discount fashion shops, destination restaurants, and lively sidewalk cafés.

Even the name would be new. Welcome, shoppers, to the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia.

Details of the plan were provided exclusively to The Inquirer in advance of a series of meetings by government agencies whose support is vital to the project. The news marks a grand unveiling of plans for the Gallery following years of uncertainty and speculation.


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.

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Boscov’s To remodel Wilkes-Barre Store To Tune Of $1 Million; Work To Start In 2 Weeks

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Al Boscov said Tuesday that the long-awaited million-dollar renovation of the downtown store will begin in two weeks.

“We’ve had a slight change in design, and that’s the reason for the delay in starting,” Boscov said. “The project will begin on the third floor and the estimate remains at $1 million.”

It’s been one year since Boscov announced the plan to remodel the South Main Street store and customers and employees have been anticipating the project.

Last March, Gary Boyer, Boscov’s senior executive vice president/chief stores officer, said carpeting was going to be installed within a month, but the project never started. Boyer also said shoppers could expect to see brighter lights, new carpeting and flooring, freshly painted walls, some new features, expanded departments and maybe a few new shops.

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