King of Prussia Mall
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Entrance to King of Prussia Mall between Neiman Marcus and Macy's, in the expansion corridor that opened in 2016
|Location||King of Prussia, Pennsylvania|
|Address||160 North Gulph Road
King of Prussia, PA 19406
|Developer||The Kravco Co.|
|Management||Simon Property Group|
|Owner||King of Prussia Associates, Simon Property Group (97%)|
|No. of stores and services||400+|
|No. of anchor tenants||8 (1 vacant)|
|Total retail floor area||2,900,000 square feet (270,000 m2)|
|No. of floors||2 (3 in Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and Pavilion, 3rd floor storage space in former JCPenney)|
|Parking||5 parking lots, 3 parking garages, valet parking with 13,376+ spaces|
|Public transit access||SEPTA bus: 92, 99, 123, 124, 125, 139 at the King of Prussia Transit Center|
The King of Prussia Mall is the largest shopping mall in the United States as of August, 2016. It is a luxury mall with numerous upscale retailers, anchored by Lord & Taylor, Dick's Sporting Goods, Primark, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy's and Bloomingdale's.
The mall is located in King of Prussia, a census-designated place within Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County in southeastern Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia. The mall, which opened in 1963, consisted of two distinct buildings known as The Plaza and The Court until August 2016, when a major expansion was completed and the two buildings were finally connected to create one massive shopping mall.
The King of Prussia Mall is located in the community of King of Prussia in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Philadelphia. The mall is near the convergence of four major highways: the Schuylkill Expressway (Interstate 76), the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76/Interstate 276), U.S. Route 202, and U.S. Route 422. The mall is located northeast of the Schuylkill Expressway and south of the Pennsylvania Turnpike on the north side of US 202 between Gulph Road to the southwest and Allendale Road to the northeast, with Mall Boulevard providing access to and running through the mall grounds between Gulph Road and US 202. Mall Boulevard passes under a portion of the shopping mall. Ramps to and from the westbound direction of the Schuylkill Expressway connect to Mall Boulevard. Six SEPTA Suburban Division bus routes serve the King of Prussia Mall at the King of Prussia Transit Center. These bus routes provide service to West Chester, the Exton Transportation Center at the Exton Square Mall, the Norristown Transportation Center, Phoenixville, the 69th Street Transportation Center, Center City Philadelphia, Chesterbrook, Valley Forge, and Limerick.
The mall has several outparcels, and several luxury and affordable hotels are nearby. Among the outparcels is the Overlook at King of Prussia shopping center, which consists of a United Artists Theatres, Saks Off 5th, Best Buy, and an iFLY indoor skydiving center. Lockheed Martin also has a campus overlooking the mall area. Also located nearby is the King of Prussia Town Center, a lifestyle center that consists of Wegmans, multiple other big-box retailers, and a downtown area with dining, retail, and service establishments and a Town Square. The town center is part of the Village at Valley Forge, a 122-acre mixed-use development under construction that consists of retail, apartments, townhouses, condominiums, office space, and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's "Specialty Care and Surgery Center".
King of Prussia Mall is anchored by Nordstrom, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Primark and a diverse merchant mix of over 400 stores, including a collection of luxury retailers. The mall is managed by Simon Property Group of Indianapolis, who owns 97%. It is also the sole outpost in Philadelphia for a number of high-end stores. The mall has annual sales of $1.1 billion. A selection of international dining options are available at four food courts and in over 40 casual and fine dining establishments. The mall is a prominent tourist destination in the Philadelphia area, with an estimated 20% of visitors as tourists. The King of Prussia Mall attracts 22 million visitors annually. Several nearby hotels offer mall tourist packages, which typically include mall gift cards. The mall employs over 7,000 people. Due to the mall's size, several retailers rent more than one space.
A covered outdoor walkway, which features an array of plants, benches, and speakers playing jazz music, connects Macy's & Neiman Marcus. The Eastern portion of the mall (originally known as the Court) has two anchor stores, Macy's and Bloomingdale's. It originally had a third anchor, Abraham & Straus, which sold its store in 1988 to Strawbridge and Clothier, which subsequently relocated to the former Wanamaker location at The Plaza in 1996 upon its acquisition by May Department Stores Co. Its spot was redeveloped as the shopping complex's newest section, the Pavilion at King of Prussia. Stores in this section include a double-level Urban Outfitters, Old Navy, and The Cheesecake Factory. One of the complex's four food courts is also located on the lower level just past Bloomingdales
The mall was originally developed by the Kravco company. The Plaza at King of Prussia, the oldest portion of the complex, opened in 1963 as a modest open-air shopping mall anchored by JCPenney, discount department store E. J. Korvette, and an Acme "A-Frame" style supermarket. The Plaza prospered and by the late 1970s had become a partially enclosed super-regional mall anchored by department stores JCPenney, Gimbels, and Wanamaker's. The Wanamaker's store opened in 1965 in what had been an amphitheater.
By the late 1970s, The Plaza consisted of a small, fully enclosed section (connecting the three department stores) and a sprawling outdoor mall (featuring Woolworth's and Acme Markets). It was around this time Kravco noticed a demand for more upscale shopping in the northwest Philadelphia market. The company embarked on a second mall, The Court at King of Prussia, to be constructed across the street from The Plaza. The Court opened in 1981 as a fully enclosed mall anchored by department stores Bamberger's (later in 1986 to become Macy's), Bloomingdale's, and Abraham & Straus (A&S). In addition, Sears was added to The Plaza, relocating from Norristown. Sears was built as a "store of the future" and was completed along with an expansion of the multi-level portion of the Plaza. The Garden Food Court was part of this expansion. Shoppers also said goodbye to inclement weather as the outdoor portion of The Plaza was enclosed. For the first time, King of Prussia visitors were inside all the time.
Through the 1980s, The Plaza sported such stores as Woolworth's, Herman's World of Sporting Goods, and a Lionel "Kiddie City" toy store. The Woolworth's store closed in 1993. The Plaza also featured two 1980s style video arcades, each named Spaceport, and the RKO Stanley Warner (later Sam Eric, and then United Artists Plaza) movie theater which, in an era before multiplexes, had only one extra large 7m screen. This theatre was later split in half to add a second screen.
By the early 1990s, demand for luxury goods had grown across the nation and many upscale retailers were in a growth mode. Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom were all looking for new locations in the area, and Kravco didn't want any of them to land at a competing mall. The company's dilemma, though, was that The Court was on a small piece of land and couldn't expand, while The Plaza was too downscale for these stores. Kravco decided to embark on an ambitious campaign to almost completely rebuild The Plaza to make it just as attractive to upscale retailers as The Court and to begin marketing the two malls as a single entity (a pedestrian bridge and walkway connecting the malls was constructed around this time, though there have always been informal passageways from one to the other). The former Acme Markets location was demolished during this project; beforehand it moved a bit down the road into a new building, with a strip mall including a Tower Records shop (since closed).
The new Plaza is fully enclosed and has two levels throughout. Lord & Taylor opened in the fall of 1995, while Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom opened in the spring of 1996. Upscale stores at The Plaza are clustered in the southern end of the mall near Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom, while middle-market stores remain clustered in the northern end of the mall near the former JCPenney and Sears anchor stores. The Court now contains a mix of upscale stores and middle-market stores.
The anchor lineup at both malls changed during the 1990s as the industry consolidated. Stern's, which had replaced Gimbels, left and JCPenney moved into its old space. John Wanamaker was acquired by May Department Stores, which rebranded all Wanamaker's as Hecht's, their Baltimore-Washington regional nameplate. Abraham & Straus was consolidated with Macy's and Strawbridge & Clothier briefly took its place at The Court. Soon after, May acquired Strawbridge & Clothier, rebranded it as simply Strawbridge's, and merged it with Hecht's Philadelphia operations. The Hecht's (former John Wanamaker) at The Plaza became a Strawbridge's and the Strawbridge's (former Abraham & Straus) at The Court closed. The mall even featured an outlet of the popular New York City toy company FAO Schwarz, complete with a giant teddy bear, before hard financial times forced it to close in 2004.
The growth of large-format specialty retailers in the 1990s led to the early 2000s conversion of the former Strawbridge's store at The Court into The Pavilion at King of Prussia, which might be considered the "third mall" at King of Prussia. The Pavilion connects directly to The Court (though not originally owned by Kravco, it was later acquired and is considered by many as an expansion of the Court).
The mall served as the home of the Philadelphia Freedoms tennis team of World TeamTennis in 2008 and 2009. Whenever a tennis event was to occur, a temporary tennis stadium that seated 3,000 was constructed in the parking lot of the Bloomingdale's anchor store. Eventually, the Freedoms left for The Pavilion at Villanova University in 2010.
In 2011, Simon increased its ownership of the King of Prussia Mall from 12.4 percent to 96 percent, buying Lend Lease's 50 percent ownership of the mall. Lend Lease had bought its stake in the mall in 1996, with Kravco, Simon, and three family trusts owning the remaining 50 percent at the time.
In January 2014, it was announced that Sears would sublease some of its space to Dick's Sporting Goods. Sears would be closing this location in early December 2014. It was announced that Irish retailer Primark would be on the first level of its space while Dick's Sporting Goods would take parts of the second level. The Primark store opened on November 25, 2015. On March 17, 2017, JCPenney announced that its store would be closing as part of a plan to close 138 stores nationwide; the store closed on July 31, 2017.
The sixth anchor store in the Plaza (the former Wanamaker's/Strawbridge's/Macy's building), was demolished during the fall of 2011. Over 100,000 sq ft. of retail space adjacent to the former department store is currently under redevelopment, and some of the stores within the redevelopment have already opened, including a relocated, 2-level Forever 21 and an Athleta. H&M has relocated to a 2-level store as well, and they opened right next to the new Forever 21. A second H&M opened November 21, 2012.
On November 29, 2011, Simon Property Group announced plans to create a 140,000 sq ft. expansion to connect The Court and The Plaza. This new retail connector would feature 50 stores, dining choices from some of Philadelphia's well-known celebrity chefs, an upscale dining pavilion, and a customer lounge. Upon completion, this project would make King of Prussia Mall the largest official shopping mall in the United States (larger than Mall of America in overall square footage), and it would be under one roof for the first time. The 155,000-square-foot expansion also included a new parking garage “with speed ramps, space location technology and valet service.” Construction on this expansion was estimated to cost $150 million. Several outparcels are also proposed for this expansion. On November 18, 2014, construction began on the expansion to connect The Court and The Plaza. The expansion opened August 18, 2016, with two ribbons joined from The Court and The Plaza. Simon Property Group COO Rick Sokolov and U.S. Representative Brendan Boyle were present for the ribbon tying ceremony.
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