Blue entrance to Franklin Mills mall
|Location||Philadelphia, PA, U.S.|
|Opening date||May 11, 1989|
|Owner||Simon Property Group|
|No. of stores and services||200|
|No. of anchor tenants||20|
|Total retail floor area||1,600,000 square feet (150,000 m2)|
|No. of floors||1 (2 in Burlington Coat Factory)|
Franklin Mills is an enclosed shopping mall located in northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, bordering Bensalem in Bucks County and 15 miles (24 km) outside Center City. Named for Benjamin Franklin, the mall houses 200 stores, a movie theatre, two food courts, and seven theme restaurants and was visited by an estimated 18 million people in 2006.
Opened in 1989, Franklin Mills was the second built and formerly owned by the Mills Corporation and is now managed by the Simon Property Group. Along with King of Prussia Mall, Simon has control of Pennsylvania's two largest malls.
The Franklin Mills site was formerly home to Liberty Bell Park Racetrack. It is located approximately one mile west of Interstate 95, at the intersection of Woodhaven Road (Pennsylvania State Route 63) and Knights Road.
In August 2006, unconfirmed rumors circulated that the mall was being closed and sold for residential redevelopment. As of 2012, no such changes have occurred.
Branding and design
Franklin Mills mall is designed in the shape of a thunderbolt in commemoration of Franklin's kite-and-key experiment. The mall's logo includes a red kite with a lighting bolt on the right side and the string ending on the letter "A" of "FRANKLIN". The mall is separated by its four Neighborhoods: Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green, and has six main entries including its neighborhood color entries, plus Aqua at the Grand Court and the Orange entry in its Green Neighborhood near the former Steve & Barry's. There are also entries at either side of the AMC 14 theater for moviegoers after mall hours.
The mall is the first Mills mall to have two food courts. "Cafe Court" is at Red Neighborhood 1 and is anchored by GAP. "Cafe Freedom" is a larger food court at Green Neighborhood 4. The mall once had graphics, usually hanging from the ceiling, but in the later years, they were removed. From the mall's opening until 2012, a sculpture of Benjamin Franklin's Face was located at the Grand Court between Neighborhoods Blue & Yellow. Almost all main mall entries have a graphic at its entry. Throughout the mall, there are several sets of projection TVs hanging from the ceiling known as "Mills TV", showing video loops of music videos and advertisements.
The 1,600,000-square-foot (150,000 m2) mall consists primarily of factory outlet stores. As of November 2011, the surviving major anchor tenants include Marshalls and Burlington Coat Factory. When the mall first opened in 1989 the original anchors were J. C. Penney; Sears; Ports of the World, a discount apparel, housewares and giftware chain of Boscov's Department Stores, Reading, Pa.; Reading China and Glass, a housewares chain also based in Reading; and Phar-Mor, Youngstown, Ohio, a deep discount drug chain. Over time the Ports, was re-branded as Boscov's, and later replaced by Steve & Barry's, before the location became vacant, Reading China & Glass closed and its building was split between Marshalls and Office Max, Sears leaves the mall for the first time and was replaced by General Cinema, itself acquired by AMC Theatres. Office Max later leaves the mall, and Sears returns, taking the Office Max space. Original stores remaining in the mall include Bed, Bath and Beyond & Modell's, which have been joined by Forever 21, Last Call, H&M, & Off 5th, among others. As of November 29, 2011, 3 of the mall's 5 anchors are vacant. On December 15, 2011, it was announced that J.C. Penney would be returning to the mall as a department store, in its original location, the outlet store had been closed as part of a nationwide realignment by the retailer of all its outlet stores.
- JCPenney Catalog Outlet opened 1989, closed 2011
- Sears Catalog Outlet opened 1989
- Ports of the World opened 1989, later renamed to its parent company's name Boscov's
- Reading China and Glass, opened 1989
- Phar-Mor, opened 1989, closed 2002
- AMC Theatres, opened 1998 as General Cinema on former Sears Catalog Oulet site, renamed to AMC in 2002
- Office Max, took 1/3 of old Reading China & Glass building
- Marshalls, took 2/3 of old Reading China & Glass building
- Burlington Coat Factory, opened in former 49th Street Galleria building
- Steve & Barry's, opened in former Ports Of The World/Boscov's building. Closed by 2010
- Sears Outlet, took the old Office Max site
- JCPenney, opened March 2, 2012 in its original Outlet Store location
- Red-Liberty Bell
- Blue-A Cloud with a Lightning Bolt
- Yellow-A Key with string (a nod to Franklin's lightning experiment)
- Orange-An Ink cup for its feather pens
- Green-A Bald Eagle (its entry has no kite)
- AMC 14-entries on both sides of the theater, accessible after mall hours.
Adjacent stand-alone stores
Stand-alone stores adjacent to the main mall include:
- Walmart, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Raymour & Flanigan Furniture, all located in the former Carrefour store
- Sam's Club
- Pathmark Sav-A-Center supermarket (whose site was formerly a Super Fresh Super Store)
- Toys "R" Us
- Bally Total Fitness (gym)
- Various fast-food restaurants, including McDonald's, Wendy's, KFC, and Arby's
In addition, there is a neighboring strip mall called Franklin Marketplace (formerly the Home & Design Center), which includes:
- Big Lots
- Harbor Freight Tools
- Kaplan, Inc. higher-education campus
- Bethel, The Church @ Franklin Mills, a non-denominational church (located in the former General Cinema Franklin Mills 10 Theatre)
- "Franklin Mills Fact Sheet". Simon Property Group. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
- "Simon: Franklin Mills." Accessed July 20, 2007.
- "Franklin Mills Mall." Accessed July 20, 2007.
- Van Allen, Peter. "Franklin Mills Mall lines up as major tourist destination." Accessed July 20, 2007.
- "Simon: Find a Mall." Accessed July 20, 2007.
- "Cinema Treasures: Franklin Mills 14." Accessed July 20, 2007
- Kenny, William. "Is Franklin Mills on the market?" Northeast Times Accessed July 20, 2007.
- David M. Giles (May 7, 1989). "A Mall To End Them All New Franklin Mills Is Largest Outlet Mall". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
- Richard C. Halverson (June 5, 1989). "Nation's largest off-price mall opens in NE Philadelphia - Franklin Mills shopping Center".
- Maria Panaritis (December 15, 2011). "J.C.Penneyplans to open a department store at Franklin Mills". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
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