Shopping Centers Today

DEC 2018

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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44 S C T / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 " T ransformative" might be a good way to describe the largest redevelopment of a retail center ever in downtown Philadelphia. When the $400 million, 838,000-square-foot Fashion District Philadelphia opens, next September, the mall will span three city blocks in the heart of Center City as the culmi- nation of a 16-year e„ort to reposition one of the city's prime retail locations. "We felt it was the perfect time to launch a project like this," said Joseph F. Coradino, CEO of Phila- delphia-based PREIT and himself a Philadelphia native. PREIT, which is co-developing Fashion Dis- trict as a 50-50 joint venture with Macerich, acquired the project's five major property parcels between 2003 and 2013. Fashion District (formerly The Gallery at East Market) is connected to Reading Terminal Market, the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the largest regional rail hub in Phila- delphia, which accommodates some 22 million commuters annually. The mall is also a mere two blocks from the site of the historic Liberty Bell, which gets some 10 million tourist visits every year. Construction began in late 2016, when the mall was re-envisioned as a collection of fashion outlet stores to be called Fashion Outlets of Philadel- phia. In the summer of 2017, howev- er, the developers came around to the current Fashion District Philadelphia plan, choosing to add dining, enter- tainment and cultural elements to the retail mix. "We wanted to do something that would be compelling to consumers and tourists and the new residents, as well as the Millennials," said Coradino. Downtown Philadelphia's demo- graphics have changed dramatically over the past decade. According to Census Bureau data, Philadelphia has the third-largest residential downtown population in the U.S., behind New York City and Chicago. Coradino notes that though in 2001 there were only four sidewalk cafés downtown, today there are some 400. "It is unbelievable: If you were to come tonight to Philadelphia, you would have difficulty navigating your way down the sidewalks, there are so many young people here at the sidewalk cafés," he said. "But the demographic profile is relatively diverse and allows us to really put in place a pretty unique mix of retail to respond to that." D E V E L O P M E N T D I G E S T F R O M R E N D E R I N G TO G R A N D O P E N I N G PREIT and Macerich are transforming three city blocks in downtown Philadelphia to create the Fashion District mall By Ben Johnson City of brotherly partnership

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