Philadelphia’s Gallery Mall Is Ripe For Rebirth

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighti...

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighting Center City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Has the Gallery’s time finally come – again?

Thirty-seven years after the Center City mall broke new ground in urban retailing, the Market East shopping center is anything but cutting-edge. It is tired, mismatched to its surroundings, and a drag on the wider Center City boom.

Its owner, publicly traded Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, has promised to reverse that. Just how and when, however, has been a bit hazy.

Now, there is increasing evidence that a critical mass is building and that perhaps, as promised by PREIT chief executive officer Joseph Coradino, a transformative project is near.


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Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority Advances Plan To Fund East Liberty Improvements

Locator map with the East Liberty neighborhood...

Locator map with the East Liberty neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority board is pushing ahead with a plan to divert a large portion of real estate and parking tax revenue from a host of projects in or near East Liberty to help fund road, pedestrian and other improvements in the area.

Board members will vote Thursday on a proposal to create an East Liberty Transit Revitalization Investment District in which 75 percent of the new real estate and parking tax revenue generated by development within half a mile of the East Liberty stop on the East Busway would be used for infrastructure improvements.

Also Thursday, the board is expected to vote on $500,000 in loans to help clear the way for Fifth Avenue Pub and Lofts, a proposed restaurant and apartment development across the street from Consol Energy Center. It would mark the first major private development to take place in that area since the arena opened in 2010.

The transit revitalization investment district in some ways works like a tax increment financing district, only it typically involves a broader area and is utilized for a host of projects, not just one.

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More Than 89 Acres Sold At Berks Park 78

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

A Reno, Nev.-based real estate development company has purchased 89.22 acres in Berks Park 78 for $7.5 million, the Berks County Industrial Development Authority announced Tuesday.

Gene Preston, partner for the eastern region with Dermody Properties, said the company does not have a prospective tenant for Berks Park 78.

“That’s not atypical for us,” he said. “We are investors in real estate. We like to buy good land sites. This is an outstanding site, we are going to aggressively market the site and we feel fairly confident.”

Pennsylvania and the Berks Park location, in particular, provides strategic infrastructure to be able to move goods to the population base in the northeastern part of the country, Preston explained.

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Developer Plans Apartments On First Avenue In Downtown Pittsburgh

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the past several years, developer Todd Palcic has made his living developing condos and apartment buildings in Downtown’s cultural district. Now he’s taking his talents across town.

Last week, Mr. Palcic completed the purchase of the former Graphic Arts building at 422 First Ave., with plans to convert the eight-story, red-brick structure into apartments.

“I think there’s a need for apartments on that side of town,” he said Thursday.

Mr. Palcic paid $800,000 for the building and another $350,000 for an adjacent lot, which will provide parking for those who eventually will be living in the building. CBRE was the broker in the sale.

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Reading OKs Program To Sell Off Blighted Houses

Needing a way for the city to sell off the blighted houses it has begun taking from property owners, City Council on Monday approved an agreement to use a special program by the Reading-Berks Association of Realtors.

Part of a statewide effort, the Realtors’ Community Reinvestment – or CORE – program will try to match the homes with buyers and mortgage companies and rehab contractors.

There are several advantages to the buyers, top among them a 10-year graduated property tax abatement – no taxes the first year, scaling up to 90 percent in the 10th.

But there’s also potential help with closing and rehab costs and even the price of the home, as well as cutting in half the 5 percent real estate transfer tax and discount permit fees.

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Mericle Plans To Develop 1,700 Acres Of Commercial Property

A massive development of commercial real estate is under way in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties that will open up approximately 15 million square feet of space and the opportunity to create or retain thousands of new jobs in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services plans to prepare more than 90 sites and build dozens of speculative commercial buildings on about 1,700 acres it owns in 10 business parks in the two counties, Mericle spokesman Jim Cummings said Thursday.

Mr. Cummings said the investment, which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, is part of a new initiative called “Ready to Go” that will market the prepared sites for possible manufacturing, distribution, office and medical jobs. The project represents about a decade of work, he said.

The sites range from 1.15 acres to 125 acres and can accommodate companies needing buildings from less than 5,000 square feet to more than 1.4 million square feet. Filling the space will depend on the economy, Mr. Cummings said.

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Project OK’d For Pittsburgh’s North Shore

PNC Park nighttime panoramic picture

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After months of controversy, the city’s Stadium Authority cleared the way Friday for the latest development between Heinz Field and PNC Park — a $20 million retail and office project next to Stage AE.

Stadium Authority board members unanimously approved conceptual plans for the development and voted to sell the 1.3 acres needed for the project to North Shore Developers L.P. for $900,000, the appraised value.

The project is the first one advanced by developer Continental Real Estate Companies and the Steelers and the Pirates since the board voted last fall to amend a 9-year-old option agreement with the teams and extend the deadlines they had missed for developing land between the stadiums.

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