By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Look for big changes at the Gallery shopping mall, in center city Philadelphia. The owners have attracted a partner to redo the aging downtown mall.
When suburban malls began bleeding urban retailers, city developers fought fire with fire.
“They took the model of a suburban shopping center, where you don’t walk along the street, look at windows, and make an impulse decision,” notes Center City District president Paul Levy.
He says the Gallery was pathbreaking at the time it opened, in 1977, but resulted in blank walls along four city blocks. So, the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (“PREIT”), which owns the property, wants a renovation, “essentially turning the project inside out, so it would be animating the street. There would be ground floor retail and restaurants.”
That takes huge investment, which is why an essential step was attracting a partner — in this case, California-based Macerich, “who has a tremendous amount of experience both in retail as well as mixed-use development,” says Levy. “It’s a very potent combination that’s very good for the city.”