Plans To Transform Underperforming Burlington Mall

Over the next two to three months, officials in Burlington Township will be getting architectural and civil engineering drawings of what the new Marketplace at Burlington – formerly Burlington Center Mall – will look like, as well as a count of the traffic it is hoped it will generate.

By mid-spring of next year, owner Moonbeam Capital Investments L.L.C. of Las Vegas says, groundbreaking will begin to convert the underperforming mall into a must-see destination off Exit 47A of I-295 for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

If all goes as planned, the $230 million-plus phased conversion will also include manicured green spaces with benches and fountains that seamlessly tie a traditional mall with an open-air town center.

The full build-out is expected to take from two to three years and will be done in stages. The mall will stay open the entire time.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150124_Plans_to_transform_underperforming_Burlington_mall.html#ryTRJvJqSdssWhue.99

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Downtown First Awards – York PA

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

Editor’s note:  We like how they roll in York.  Their Downtown Inc. organization has been doing some awesome things and downtown York is becoming a destination again.   Color us impressed.

The Downtown First Awards recognize businesses, organizations, and individuals who put downtown York first through their commitments of time, advocacy and resources.

See the list of  nominees: http://downtownyorkpa.com/downtownfirstawards/

‘Coolest Small Town’ Label Bringing More Visitors To Lititz

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

So, are new faces showing up in Lititz these days, checking out the “Coolest Small Town in America?”

“I voted — that’s why you won,” laughed Rose Anne Manfredi of Long Island, N.Y., Sunday afternoon as she and her husband, Ron, both 62, strolled through Lititz Springs Park.

The couple was staying in Ephrata 25 years ago. Needing a place to eat, they thumbed through a phone book and thought the General Sutter Inn sounded interesting.

They fell in love with Lititz and have been making annual pilgrimages ever since.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/838088_-Coolest-Small-Town–label-bringing-more-visitors-to-Lititz-.html#ixzz2QYUFaizs

The Three Statistics That Every Downtown Should Live By

Editor’s note:  This is phenomenal advice for all downtown shopping districts and their umbrella organizations i.e. Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority.

Lancaster and its James Street Improvement District are prime examples of living by these three simple rules!  I suggest a field trip for any struggling downtown merchants or downtown organizations who want to see what is possible!

I call this the 7-8-7 rule because of the three most important statistics that make a downtown a successful and vibrant destination. Think of your favorite destination downtowns. Are they beautiful? Do they feel safe? Are there things to do after 6:00 pm?

Read more: http://www.rogerbrooks.org/2012/04/30/the-three-downtown-statistics/

Foot Traffic Draws New Business To Kennett Square

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Image via Wikipedia

A store owner has moved his store from Delaware to Kennett Square because he likes how vibrant the downtown business community has become.

Mystique, a store that offers men’s and women’s clothing, opened this week at 11 E. State St.

A grand opening is planned for March 2.

Kennett Square is one of the top 10 small towns in the nation, and they have monthly events, which is wonderful,” said Bill McClane, owner of the store. “I really like the mix here with the variety of stores and all the people walking around.”

Read more:: http://business-news.thestreet.com/daily-local-news/story/foot-traffic-draws-new-business-kennett-square-4/1

West Reading: Keeping It Fresh On The Avenue

When West Reading’s state and community-funded Main Street Program on Penn Avenue reached maturity in 2005, a total of 66 businesses had been created in six years, along with more than 125 jobs.

Grant funding of $6 million from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development revitalized the streetscape with new facades, sidewalk and traffic-lane design, and pedestrian and street lighting.

What’s going on in West Reading to maintain and expand the cycle of growth on the hippest street in the county? Some businesses still flounder, while others take root and grow.

Read more: http://businessweekly.readingeagle.com/?p=1908

Muhlenberg Seeks Rebirth Of Fifth Street Corridor

Muhlenberg Township very badly wants to fill its empty lots and storefronts.

But there’s a holdup: The township’s major commercial stretch, Fifth Street Highway, needs updating before it will be an attractive place for businesses to set up shop.

The road is a hodgepodge of shopping centers, some empty and some filled, as well as offices, homes and a vacant industrial site. Entrances, driveways and side roads introduce traffic at every step.

“It’s a nightmare right now and people avoid it,” said Michael S. Malinowski, Muhlenberg commissioners president. “The last thing you want as an official of any community is to have your major corridor avoided by people.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=359587

Lancaster And Harrisburg Promote The Arts And Their Revitalized Downtowns With Monthly Events!

This is an inspiring story about how Lancaster’s success with their First Fridays event has inspired Harrisburg to follow suit.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

Lancaster’s First Fridays event now involves 70 venues!  This free event brings thousands into downtown Lancaster!  This not only benefits the arts scene but all downtown businesses and restaurants.  First Fridays runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every month, without exception!  People come from as far away as Philadelphia and Baltimore!  Franklin and Marshall College is the presenting sponsor of this event.  As a side note, Franklin and Marshall has been instrumental in helping Lancaster with economic development!

While Lancaster has a larger population than Pottstown, it is also a very walkable city of only 7.40 square miles (land area).  A year-round monthly event in downtown Pottstown could yield similar results that would benefit our emerging arts community and our downtown stores and restaurants.  And maybe attract new ones.

Here is a link to Lancaster’s First Fridays event.  Check out this map and list of venues:  http://www.lancasterarts.com/_files/live/FirstFriday_Guide_2011_1st_Qtr_LArts.pdf

Some folks in Harrisburg had watched the success of Lancaster’s First Fridays.  A year ago, three downtown business owners got together and started 3rd in the Burg.  This idea has grown into a monthly event with up to 15 venues participating already!  That is great for the first year! 

The next 3rd in the Burg takes place on January 21st and will feature art, music and food from downtown to midtown!  Nonna’s Delisioso! will feature a 3rd in the Burg dinner special.  Nonna’s co-owner, Grace Diaz was quoted as saying, 3rd in the Burg has “introduced people from here and neighboring towns and cities to the revitalization that has taken place in our developing arts community.”  Bingo!!  What better way to entice people to come take a “look-see” than with the arts, food and music.

Participating businesses are experiencing increased sales and foot traffic at their locations.  The event draws many people into downtown Harrisburg who would not ordinarily go there.  Having multiple participants increases the public’s enthusiasm, creates a positive “buzz” and creates a snowball effect.  The ball started out with three participants, now there are 15.  As the momentum builds and the crowds increase, other merchants will take part in making the ball bigger.  As shoppers stroll between participating merchants, they will pass other stores and restaurants along the way.  I can bet you they will stop in those places as well.

The other part of the snowball effect is the arts community.  As this event grows, it will inspire other artists to take part and possibly move to Harrisburg.  Thereby increasing Harrisburg’s arts community and growing 3rd in the Burg further.

The desired result of 3rd in the Burg is to make Harrisburg a “destination” for the arts, shopping and dining.  I give that two Roy’s Rants thumbs up!

Here is a link to 3rd in the Burg:  http://3rdintheburg.com/

York City Making Improvements To Market Downtown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Image via Wikipedia

One year ago, Roger Brooks visited York City and came up with 33 recommendations how downtown York could market itself and attract people.  This idea should sound familiar to Pottstown residents after a ULI study and recommendations were made for Pottstown.

What did York do with these 33 recommendations?  Do you suppose they ignored them or possibly took an expert at their word and went about trying to carry out these ideas?  I know, sounds pretty zany, doesn’t it!

Mr. Brooks gave York a 3 – 5 year time frame to make the changes.  Like Pottstown, York has a downtown entity similar to PDIDA, called Downtown Inc.  Their Executive Director, Sonia Huntzinger reports they have completed 18 out of 33 recommendations in the first year!

Some of these recommendations, Pottstown has already completed (mainly the cosmetic ones).  One unique recommendation, completed in October, was a “best of” guide.  Downtown Inc. released a Downtown Destination guide which promotes downtown York!

Brooks recommended that York brand itself as “America’s Industrial Art and Design Capital”.  The York County Economic Development Corp. has developed “Creativity Unleashed” to support this effort.  The idea is to attract young professionals and artists to York along with tourism.  A logo was developed to be used by organizations and companies in their advertising to help promote this rebranding.

How refreshing to see that the county and the city work together to achieve these goals.  How refreshing to see the vigor with which York is embracing these recommendations for positive change.

If you would like to check out Downtown Inc.’s website site, click here: http://downtownyorkpa.com/

To view their 25 page Downtown Destination brochure, click here:

http://downtownyorkpa.com/storage/Destination%20Guide%20ALL%20Pages.pdf

To view Creativity Unleashed info, click here:

http://downtownyorkpa.com/creativity-unleashed/

If this doesn’t inspire you, check your pulse!

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/