Willow Grove Park Mall

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Willow Grove Park Mall
WGPMall logo.png
Location Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Coordinates 40°08′25″N 75°07′24″W / 40.1402°N 75.1234°W / 40.1402; -75.1234Coordinates: 40°08′25″N 75°07′24″W / 40.1402°N 75.1234°W / 40.1402; -75.1234
Address 2500 Moreland Road
Willow Grove, PA 19090
Opening date August 11, 1982[1]
Developer Federated Department Stores and The Rubin Organization
Management Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust
Owner Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust
Architect RTKL
No. of stores and services 130+
No. of anchor tenants 5
Total retail floor area 1,203,423 square feet (111,802 m2)[2]
No. of floors 3
Parking Lighted lot, Parking garage
Website http://www.willowgroveparkmall.com

Willow Grove Park Mall (generally referred to as just "Willow Grove Mall" by residents) is a three-story shopping mall located in the unincorporated community of Willow Grove in Abington Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania at the intersection of Easton Road and Moreland Road (Pennsylvania Route 63). The mall contains over 130 stores along with several restaurants including The Cheesecake Factory. The Willow Grove Park Mall has Bloomingdale's, Sears, Macy's, Nordstrom Rack, and JCPenney as anchor stores. It is owned by Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT). The Willow Grove Park Mall is the third most profitable mall in the Philadelphia area.

The Willow Grove Park Mall opened in 1982 on the site of the former Willow Grove Park. The mall, developed by Federated Department Stores and The Rubin Organization, was originally anchored by Bloomingdale's, B. Altman and Company, and Abraham & Straus. B. Altman and Company became Sears in 1987 and Abraham & Straus became Strawbridge & Clothier in 1988. In 2000, PREIT and the Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System acquired the mall, with a renovation completed in 2001 that added Macy's as an anchor. PREIT became the sole owner of the mall in 2003. In 2006, Strawbridge's closed, with the third floor of the former store becoming home to The Cheesecake Factory, Bravo Cucina Italiana, and Nordstrom Rack while the lower two floors became JCPenney.

Location[edit]

The Willow Grove Park Mall is located on the site of the previous Willow Grove Amusement Park in the unincorporated community of Willow Grove in Abington Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 15 miles (24 km) north of Center City Philadelphia in the northern suburbs of the city. The mall is bordered by Pennsylvania Route 63 (Moreland Road) to the northeast, Easton Road to the southeast, and Old Welsh Road to the southwest.[3] The mall is located near Pennsylvania Route 611 and is a little more than a mile from the Willow Grove exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.[4] Four Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) bus routes stop at the mall, providing access to the mall from Warminster, Doylestown, Gulph Mills, Horsham and the Olney Transportation Center.[5][6][7][8] The mall is also near the Willow Grove station on the Warminster Line of SEPTA Regional Rail.[5] The Willow Grove Park Mall has a market area that covers eastern Montgomery County along with Northwest Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, Northeast Philadelphia, and portions of central Bucks County.[4]

Stores[edit]

A view of the mall from the third floor near The Grove food court.

The Willow Grove Park Mall currently contains five anchor stores. The largest is Bloomingdale's, which is 237,537 square feet (22,068 m2) and opened in 1982.[2][9] The Bloomingdale's store is one of two located in the Philadelphia area.[4] The second largest is Macy's, which is 225,000 square feet (20,903 m2) and opened in 2001 as part of a mall expansion.[2] The third largest anchor store is Sears, which is 175,584 square feet (16,312 m2) and opened in 1982 as B. Altman and Company before becoming Sears in 1987.[2][9] Another anchor space opened in 1982 as Abraham & Straus before becoming Strawbridge & Clothier (later Strawbridge's) in 1988.[9] Strawbridge's closed in 2006, with a part of the former space on the third floor reopening as The Cheesecake Factory in 2007, which is 10,310 square feet (958 m2) in area, and a 7,500 square feet (697 m2) Bravo Cucina Italiana that opened in 2011.[2][10][11][12] In addition, a relocated two-story 17,000 square feet (1,579 m2) Forever 21 opened in a small portion of the former Strawbridge's in December 2011.[11][13][14] The lower two floors of the Strawbridge's space became a 114,000 square feet (10,591 m2) JCPenney store in 2012, the mall's fourth largest anchor.[11][15] The remaining area of the former Strawbridge's on the third floor opened as a 41,000 square feet (3,809 m2) Nordstrom Rack in 2012, the mall's smallest anchor store.[13][16]

In addition to the anchor stores, the Willow Grove Park Mall contains over 130 smaller stores, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Coach, Guess, a two-story H&M, J.Crew, Lucky Brand Jeans, Sephora, Victoria's Secret, and Williams-Sonoma.[2][17] The mall also contains a food court with eleven spaces as well as three sit-down restaurants: Bravo Cucina Italiana, The Cheesecake Factory, and T.G.I. Friday's.[2] As of 2011, the Willow Grove Park Mall has a nonanchor occupancy rate of 94.4%.[18]

History[edit]

The third floor carousel entrance.

The current site of the Willow Grove Park Mall was originally Willow Grove Park, a popular amusement park that existed from 1896 to 1975. In 1978, Federated Department Stores and The Rubin Organization announced plans to build a US$25 million mall on the site of the former amusement park. The plans for the mall were approved by Abington in 1979, which included a downsizing to three anchor stores from four among concerns from residents about the size of the future mall.[9] The Willow Grove Park Mall opened on August 11, 1982.[1][9] The mall was designed with a Victorian theme honoring the former amusement park. The developers of the Willow Grove Park Mall were Federated Department Stores and The Rubin Organization and the architect was RTKL.[19] When the mall opened, the original anchor stores were Bloomingdale's, Abraham & Straus, and B. Altman and Company.[9] Bloomingdale's had relocated to the mall from a freestanding store in Jenkintown.[20] When it opened, the Willow Grove Park Mall was intended to be an upscale mall.[21] In 1984, Federated Department Stores sold its share of the mall to the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States for US$43 million.[22] In 1986, B. Altman and Company closed its store, which reopened as Sears in 1987.[9][21] Sears relocated to the mall from a store in Abington. Around this time, the store selection at the mall broadened to also target the middle class.[21] In 1988 Abraham & Straus closed and became Strawbridge & Clothier, which had relocated to the mall from a store in Jenkintown.[9][23]

The mall was acquired by PREIT and the Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System in 2000 for US$140 million from a group of pension fund clients managed by Lend Lease Real Estate Investments[19] In 2001, the mall underwent a major renovation which included the addition of Macy's as an anchor, the construction of a 212,000 square feet (19,695 m2) parking garage with 800 parking spaces adjacent to Sears and the food court, and the addition of a carousel at the third floor entrance opposite the food court.[2][24][25] The renovation of the mall cost US$25 million.[26] PREIT assumed full ownership of the Willow Grove Park Mall in 2003 by acquiring the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System's 70% share of ownership for US$122.3 million.[24] In 2005, a mosaic wall with images from the former Willow Grove Park was installed in the mall. The mosaics were created by the Abington Art Center's Youth Empowerment Program and the Abington Township Balanced and Restorative Justice Program from designs made by Carol Strinton-Broad.[9] In 2006, Strawbridge’s closed due to the acquisition of its parent company May Department Stores by Federated Department Stores; a portion of the former store on the upper floor became home to The Cheesecake Factory in September 2007.[10][27] The lower two floors were planned to open as Boscov's; however, it never opened due to the chain filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008.[10][28] On July 28, 2011, it was announced that JCPenney would open a store on the lower two floors of the vacant Strawbridge's. In addition, it was announced that Bravo Cucina Italiana and Nordstrom Rack would open stores on the third floor of the former Strawbridge's.[11] Bravo Cucina Italiana opened in November 2011 while Nordstrom Rack opened in May 2012.[12][16] Forever 21 also relocated to a larger store at the former Strawbridge's site in December 2011.[11][14] The JCPenney store opened in October 2012.[15]

On November 25, 2006, during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year after Thanksgiving, a small fire broke out in the Forever 21 store that forced the evacuation of 6,000 shoppers; no injuries were reported.[29][30] On the evening of June 15, 2011, a 16-year-old boy from Upper Moreland Township who was smoking synthetic cannabis jumped from the third level of the parking garage, suffering injuries.[31]


Economic impact[edit]

The Willow Grove Park Mall serves as a major regional attraction for Abington Township and is the third most profitable mall in the Philadelphia area. In the Pennsylvania part of the Philadelphia area, the Willow Grove Park Mall is the second most profitable mall after the King of Prussia Mall.[32] The mall is regarded as one of three most successful locations for retailers entering the Philadelphia market due to its location and store selection.[4] In 2011, the Willow Grove Park Mall saw sales per square foot of $400.[18] The mall employed 1,871 people in 2010, making it the third largest employer in Abington Township with 8.06% of the jobs in the township.[33]

The opening of the Willow Grove Park Mall led to the decline of retail along Old York Road in Abington and Jenkintown, with department stores such as Bloomingdale's, Sears, and Strawbridge & Clothier relocating from this area to the mall during the 1980s. A Lord & Taylor store in the same area closed in 1989, but was eventually replaced by the King of Prussia location in 1995.[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Von Bergen, Jane M. (August 12, 1982). "Fighting Back - How Residents Strove To Stop Willow Grove Mall". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 18, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Willow Grove Park Fact Sheet" (PDF). preit.com. PREIT. Retrieved March 13, 2010. 
  3. ^ ADC Map (2006). Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (Map). 1"=2000' (18th ed.). p. 3259, section A8. ISBN 0-87530-775-2.
  4. ^ a b c d "Willow Grove Park Property Overview". PREIT. Retrieved October 13, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Route 22 bus map". SEPTA. Retrieved October 13, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Route 55 bus map". SEPTA. Retrieved October 13, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Route 95 bus map". SEPTA. Retrieved November 15, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Route 310 bus map". SEPTA. Retrieved October 13, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Old York Road Historical Society (2005). Willow Grove Park. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-3913-9. OCLC 64120530. Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c "Willow Grove Park Cheesecake Factory opens Thursday". Philadelphia Business Journal. September 17, 2007. Retrieved March 14, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "Nordstrom Rack, jcpenney coming to Willow Grove mall". The Intelligencer. July 28, 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b DeBree, Crissa Shoemaker (November 8, 2011). "What's new in local business, Nov. 8". The Intelligencer. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "PREIT Announces Transformative Deals With JCPenney And Nordstrom Rack At Willow Grove Park". PREIT. July 27, 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "Forever 21 Grand Opening!". Willow Grove Park Mall. December 17, 2011. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b King, Amanda (October 5, 2012). "New JCPenney store opens in Willow Grove". The Intelligencer. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Buckman, Amy (May 10, 2012). "Willow Grove Park gets Nordstrom Rack". WPVI-TV. Retrieved May 12, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Best Shopping Malls". KYW-TV. October 10, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2010. 
  18. ^ a b "Supplemental Financial and Operating Information". PREIT. December 31, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b "Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust and Pennsylvania State Employee Retirement System Announce the Acquisition of Willow Grove Park". PR Newswire. February 28, 2000. Retrieved March 14, 2010. 
  20. ^ "Nutri/Systems Getting A New Home At Jenkintown Bloomingdale's Site". The Philadelphia Inquirer. May 1, 1982. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  21. ^ a b c Lin, Jennifer (October 15, 1986). "Sears To Make A Move A Boost Is Seen For Willow Grove". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 18, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Federated Department Stores Inc. sells Willow Grove Mall to Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States.". PR Newswire. August 30, 1984. Retrieved March 14, 2010. 
  23. ^ Giles, David M. (October 23, 1988). "Strawbridge: The Malling Of A Tradition". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 18, 2010. 
  24. ^ a b "Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust Announces the Acquisition of its Partner's Interest in Willow Grove Park". Business Wire. September 4, 2003. Retrieved March 14, 2010. 
  25. ^ "Willow Grove Park Mall Parking Structure & Pedestrian Bridge - Willow Grove, Pennsylvania". TimHaahs. Retrieved October 17, 2010. 
  26. ^ Mccalla, John (October 20, 2000). "$25M face-lift on way for Willow Grove mall". Philadelphia Business Journal. Retrieved October 17, 2010. 
  27. ^ Van Allen, Peter (June 5, 2006). "PREIT buys two Strawbridge's sites". Philadelphia Business Journal. Retrieved March 14, 2010. 
  28. ^ DeBree, Crissa Shoemaker (December 21, 2008). "Welcome back, Mr. B". The Intelligencer. 
  29. ^ Barrientos, Tanya (November 26, 2006). "Store fire forces mall evacuation: Willow Grove Park shoppers and employees had to leave after a blaze broke out in a dressing room.". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  30. ^ Pradelli, Chad (November 26, 2006). "Fire Prompts Evac at Willow Grove Mall". WPVI-TV. Retrieved October 17, 2010. 
  31. ^ Cook, Bonnie L. (June 16, 2011). "Teen jumper had been smoking fake pot, police say". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved June 17, 2011. 
  32. ^ "State of the Township’s Economy". Abington Township. Retrieved July 9, 2010. 
  33. ^ "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report For The Year Ended December 31, 2010". Abington Township. Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  34. ^ Demick, Barbara and Valerie Reitman (December 18, 1989). "Department Stores Join Shoppers In Moving To The Malls". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 

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