By Justin Udo and Syma Chowdhry
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (CBS) — The King of Prussia Mall is getting bigger. Construction began today on the 155,00 square-foot expansion on the mall.
Simon Property Group, which owns 200 malls nationwide, plans to add 50 new stores and restaurants as part of the expansion project.
“It will connect the King of Prussia Plaza to the King of Prussia Court,” says David Contis, president of Simon Malls.
Contis says right now shoppers have to cross a road to get from one building to another, but the extension will change that.
“It’ll have a couple restaurants,” he says, “it will also have a really nice upscale dining pavilion.”
Contis says Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are just a few of the retailers that will add new store entrances to the expansion area.
Managing Director, Linda Shein, of Jay H. Baker Retailing Center Wharton School says,”That’s been a must have for quite some time. I think anybody who shops at King of Prussia knows, you pull in and you can’t remember if it’s at the court or the plaza and just making it one big space is certainly in the cards of a great thing.”
She says regional malls like King of Prussia continue to be successful and look to expand, while neighborhood malls seem to have trouble maintaining foot traffic.
That’s because of competition from mobile and online shopping.
“Some companies, as you know, having more or less challenging times with the completion with e-commerce.”
Shien doesn’t think neighborhood malls will be threatened by the expansion but says malls, in general, need to embrace technology to attract shoppers.
“Such as smart mirrors, ways to be fitted with technology when you walk into a store.”
She adds, “Some of these technologies that are a little more flash than substance, but still creates an environment of entertainment and experience which is what the malls will have to be doing.”
The mall already brings in $1 billion dollars in sales a year and the new expansion will add $100 million more.
That is something local officials want to hear.
Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro says, “It means 800 new jobs. It’s millions in new revenue. It takes a great landmark and a great gathering point for Montgomery County and expands it and makes it greater.”
After the construction is complete, the mall will have more than 450 stores, but it will still be the second largest mall, behind the Mall of America in Minnesota.
Construction at the mall is scheduled to be complete in October of 2016.
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