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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East Chestnut’s Revival Could Get Huge Boost From Big Project

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The way John Columbo saw it, East Chestnut Street in Center City was a ghetto. From 8th to 13th, the once-beautiful and bustling street brimmed with empty storefronts with graffitied windows and bottom-feeder businesses like dollar stores and check-cashing joints. Drug dealers jockeyed with street hustlers for sidewalk space.

It was the perfect place, he and his business partner Mike Lewis decided six years ago, for their gourmet cupcake bakery, Philly Cupcake. “You look at what everybody else is doing and do the opposite – place luxury right in the center of the ghetto,” Columbo said of their business philosophy.

While a few other brave merchants followed their lead, the changes weren’t always positive and a rebirth remained elusive, Columbo said. A sex shop moved in a few doors away and filled its storefront windows with space-age vibrators and near-naked mannequins to tempt passers-by. Farther east, some cheered the closure of the old Funk-o-Mart electronics store, only to see another dollar store move in.

“They want this to be Woolworth’s, and we’re trying to be more Chanel,” Columbo said of the battle to revitalize Chestnut Street.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20131020_East_Chestnut_s_revival_could_get_huge_boost_from_big_project.html#V6VUDBO8eBGus08i.99

Allentown’s Seventh Street Is Experiencing A Quiet Rebirth

English: City of Allentown from east side

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

Winston Barnes sits at a table overlooking Seventh Street, the harmonious smell of cinnamon, scallions and allspice enveloping his Jamaican restaurant.

On this winter night, when other city restaurants are deserted, customers will go to Winston’s for its signature hot jerk chicken, curry goat and other savory Caribbean favorites — a sign of the subtle renaissance that is taking place on what was once one of Allentown‘s most problematic streets.

A cold blast of air floods the store as two customers emerge from the night, bundled in jackets.

“Hey! How you doing, man?” Barnes says loudly, his tired eyes coming to life as he recognizes the federal workers who stand before him.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-allentown-seventh-street-evolution-20130316,0,326378,full.story

Malvern Apartment Complex Nears Completion After 10 Years In The Works

Map of Chester County, Pennsylvania, United St...

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

The developer calls Malvern “the town that time forgot” – its main street lined with Victorian-style houses, small boutiques, and local watering holes like the Flying Pig Saloon.

But Eli Kahn and his partners are betting that a $45 million apartment and retail complex on East King Street will help satisfy urban appetites in one of the region’s most venerable suburbs – and entice empty nesters and young professionals looking for a citified environment outside the city.

Construction on the East King Street redevelopment project began in June and includes two large apartment buildings with 190 units, plus first-floor retail space that Kahn envisions renting to restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques. The complex, due for completion in August, also is to house a Whole Foods grocery.

Kahn and his partner, David Della Porta, spent several years buying 11 parcels on the site, and the project has been a decade in the making. A house on one small parcel remains because an elderly resident didn’t want to leave her home and declined to sell, Kahn said.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20130204_Malvern_apartment_complex_nears_completion_after_10_years_in_the_works.htmlhttp://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20130204_Malvern_apartment_complex_nears_completion_after_10_years_in_the_works.html

Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield Business District Is Flourishing

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)

One evening last summer, Rachelle Timarac and a friend went to Bloomfield for pizza.  Other people were walking and hanging out at sidewalk tables on Liberty Avenue.

“There was electricity in the air, and I got a really good vibe,” she said, “but I saw so many vacant storefronts and couldn’t understand why.”

One in particular caught her eye — 4615 Liberty Ave., a former Dollar Tree that had been vacant for almost two years.  Five weeks ago, she opened GoldNGals, an antique jewelry store, there.

It is one of 14 new businesses that have opened in Bloomfield since 2011.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/bloomfield-business-district-is-flourishing-666718/#ixzz2FKdKUsYS

Businesses On Clarks Summit’s State Street Alive, And Booming Again

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

CLARKS SUMMIT – Barry Kaplan still remembers walking down State Street several years ago, stunned at the number of vacant shops on what he calls the borough’s “gatekeeper.”

“I was shocked,” said Mr. Kaplan, one of the owners of Everything Natural, an organic food and natural products store located on State Street for 28 years. “I had never seen anything like it. It just wasn’t a good time for businesses.”

Now when he walks the street, Mr. Kaplan, who also serves as the president of the Abington Business & Professional Association, said he sees packed shops, windows covered in white lettering, and, most important, no vacant stores.

“This is this best business has been on this street in a long, long time,” Mr. Kaplan said. “The atmosphere … everything … it’s back.”

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/businesses-on-state-street-alive-and-booming-again-1.1377925

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