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.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140210_The_Gallery_mall_is_ripe_for_rebirth.html#uU7BTOvhCTStsI4z.99

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Tionesta Market Village Plan Unveiled

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Forest County

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

Tionesta’s long-vacant downtown will be given a jump-start this spring with the creation of the Tionesta Market Village. The Forest County IDA and IDC have partnered up and completed plans to establish this addition to the main street on the southern of the two IDA-owned lots, now known as the “Gazebo Lot”.  This site will become the home of several custom-built small scale retail buildings designed to look like 1800s store fronts, fronted by a wide walkway for shoppers and offering a variety of small retail establishments.

While the IDA owns the property, the IDC is funding this project and is now searching for new start-ups or small home-based businesses looking to move into a small retail space.  This is an attempt to fill two needs: providing small, high-visibility retail space to small businesses and making use of the vacant property until a permanent development is established.

“Over the past couple of years there have been several individuals that have expressed an interest in starting a small business in downtown Tionesta.” says Dick Johnson, owner of Forest Hardware in Tionesta and Vice President of the Forest County IDC.  “Two of the biggest drawbacks are the lack of available space and the cost of building new.”  He hopes that the Market Village will give those people an “economically feasible way to get their new ventures up and running.”

IDC president, Farley Wright, says “The project is a unique, low-risk, high potential reward grass roots effort to increase the attraction and traffic to the community.  It’s an opportunity, without relying on governmental funding, to assist local folks as well as benefit our community.”  In answer to why this type of use for the property, he adds “Sometimes you can’t wait for others to provide the solutions; and while there may be detractors (nay-sayers) to the project, I know of no one that has presented a better idea.  We can support the effort and contribute to its success, or we can deride it and it may fail…….but at least we are doing something.”

Read more:  http://www.forestcounty.com/uploads/article_Tionesta%20Market%20Village%20Plans%20Unveiled.pdf

Proposed 33-Story Tower In Allentown Draws Mixed Reaction

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s hard to imagine: a tall, pencil-like building that would jut into the Allentown sky, permanently altering the city’s landscape.

Lehigh Valley Developer Bruce Loch’s proposal to transform a 4,000-square-foot grassy plot in the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone into a 33-story high-rise is so unusual it has spurred conversation across the region.

For many, it’s an exciting prospect — a sign that developers have faith in Allentown’s urban core. Others have questions about the proposal, such as how a footprint so small could support a structure that would eclipse the Lehigh Valley’s tallest buildings by at least 20 feet.

Amy Hawley, an Allentown commercial and industrial real estate broker, commended Loch for wanting to build downtown, but questioned whether local businesses are ready for such a radical change in floor plan.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-allentown-landmark-tower-office-space-20130328,0,5118434.story

Allentown’s Arena Document Forecasts Expansive Development Downtown

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown‘s hockey arena will not open until 2014, but when it does it will help spur almost runaway development in a downtown that has been ravaged by three decades of decay, according to bond documents filed Friday.

The 354-page statement for investors interesting in buying $234 million paints a rosy future in which the next 12 years will bring not only the 8,500-seat hockey arena, but more than 1 million square feet of office space, two hotels, retail shops, a convention center, a 12-screen cinema and hundreds of apartments.

All told, the study by CSL International forecasts that Allentown’s unique 127-acre Neighborhood Improvement Zone will create 7,500 new jobs and $44 million in annual state and local taxes.

At least that’s the pitch being made to investors who in the coming weeks will be able to buy $235 million worth of revenue bonds to get the complex at Seventh and Hamilton streets started.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-allentown-pa-arena-bonds-20120907,0,5416510.story

Project Offers Face-Lifts For Downtown Pittsburgh Facades

From one window, Alan Kashi can watch a 33-story glass skyscraper being built before his eyes. From another, he can drink in the elegant lines of Three PNC Plaza, the 23-story tower that opened a few years ago. He can walk a couple of doors from his property to a former five-and-dime store that harbors apartments, restaurants and retail.

Now it’s his turn to join the Downtown renaissance.

Mr. Kashi is restoring the storefronts, replacing windows and making other improvements to the buildings he manages at 254 and 256 Fifth Avenue and 445 Wood Street as part of a new program to help rejuvenate older buildings Downtown.

“We’re revitalizing Downtown. This is a very major corner, Fifth and Wood. And it’s going to really help a lot to do what is necessary to make Downtown what it should be,” he said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/project-offers-face-lifts-for-downtown-facades-648419/?p=1

Downtown Pittsburgh Stretch Of Penn Avenue Flourishes

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)

A two-block Downtown stretch of Penn Avenue is undergoing a mini-renaissance.

New stores are opening, at least three developers have plans to build more residential units, and one school just moved in and another is expanding — all in 800 and 900 blocks of Penn.

“It seems like all the little gaps are starting to get filled in now,” said John Valentine, executive director of the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corp.

The two blocks near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center weren’t shabby by any stretch, not with a Courtyard by Marriott hotel, the Penn Garrison and several bars and restaurants anchoring the area.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/new-tenants-fill-gaps-on-penn-avenue-645419/#ixzz21Avqtakl

Dollar General To Build Distribution Center In Bethel Township, Berks County

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dollar General Corp., a national retailer with more than 10,000 stores, will locate its new distribution center in northwest Berks County, creating more than 500 new jobs and an additional 75 indirect trucking jobs, Gov. Tom Corbett announced today.

Dollar General will build a $100 million, 900,000-square-foot distribution center in Berks Park 78, a new industrial park in Bethel Township.   

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=394409