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April 15, 2015

Gallery developers rebrand mall, target Spring 2017 reopening

Proposed plan would generate revenue for city and School District

Urban Planning Shopping
Gallery Rendering PREIT and Macerich/for PhillyVoice

An exterior rendering of what Ninth and Market streets would look like if the proposed renovation plan is approved.

The Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust and Macerich, partners for the Gallery's redevelopment, announced in a press release Wednesday that they have reached a tentative agreement with the city of Philadelphia that would ask for $90.5 million from the city and the commonwealth to fund development of what will be rebranded as the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia at Market East.

In total, the project will cost an estimated $325 million, $234 million of which will come from PREIT and Macerich. A separate release from the Mayor's Office states that the project will create 2,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs, as well as generate $200 million in new revenue for the city and the School District of Philadelphia. The plan on the table includes a Tax Increment Financing District, which requires an OK from the School Reform Commission and City Council and would generate a $55 million investment from the city.

The rebranding is in line with other Macerich mall projects, namely the Fashion Outlets of Chicago. If the plan is approved by City Council, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, the project will enter a two-year renovation period for the 1.5-million-square-foot space that will, in its final form, include sidewalk cafes, digital signage and storefronts that the release is careful to point out will "complement existing office space." Architecturally, the release boasts that the stretch of outlets will feature a glass-walled Center Court at Ninth and Market streets.

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A rendering of what will be the 'Cube Court' at Ninth and Market streets. PREIT and Macerich / PhillyVoice.com

If all goes according to plan, the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia will open in Spring 2017.

The press release describes the new mall as offering a "fusion of outlet retail taking the form of luxury and moderate brands, traditional mall retail, popular flagship retail, artisanal food experiences and entertainment offerings." No specific flagship stores were announced, though an estimated 125 new stores are slated to occupy the space. 

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A rendered view of the renovated Gallery's interior concourse. PREIT and Macerich / PhillyVoice.com

PREIT and Macerich promise maintained access to public transit through construction and continued access once the construction is finished. For its part, the city is contributing $58 million in maintenance payments over the next four decades for the public transit portion of the site.

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A rendered glimpse of what the underpass at Ninth and Market streets may look like in Spring 2017. PREIT and Macerich / PhillyVoice.com

The Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, which owns malls across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, purchased The Gallery for $60 million almost two years ago to the day. PREIT roped in Macerich, a nationally recognized mall owner with experience in crafting urban spaces, as a partner for the project in July 2014. Per the terms of the partnership, the two will split costs of the project, with Macerich taking a 50 percent common ownership interest in The Gallery. 

The companies previously worked together to open Century 21 last fall.

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