King of Prussia Mall plans mixed-use development for former JCPenny site

The last few years have seen a bevy of high-profile retailers either go bankrupt or close stores across the country, raising concern that brick-and-mortar retailers are doomed. It’s undoubtedly true that consumers are buying more and more goods online. (MONTCO.Today file photo)

The scene at the East Coast’s largest mall on a recent Friday morning would seem to fly in the face of the doomsday narrative surrounding U.S. retail centers. A steady stream of holiday shoppers walked the lacquered halls, browsing stores from Gap to Gucci. By noon, a line was snaking out of an outpost of the Shake Shack burger chain.

In the background, changes are afoot to ensure the crowds keep coming, writes National Real Estate Investor.

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King of Prussia Mall, a 2.8 million-square-foot (260,000-square-meter) shopping wonderland northwest of Philadelphia, is the type of destination center that mall defenders say can defy the rise of online shopping. It’s a sprawling complex that houses stores from all corners of the retail universe, more than 50 food venues and a concierge lounge. Yet it still has to grapple with today’s reality, such as a J.C. Penney that shut down in July and left a hole in a key anchor spot.

Owner Simon Property Group Inc., the largest U.S. mall landlord, sees the closure as an opportunity — to bet on non-retail uses. For the first time since Woolworth’s and E.J. Korvette opened their doors more than 50 years ago, a sizable chunk of land at King of Prussia will be dedicated to something other than stores and restaurants. Simon is planning a mixed-used development for the 17-acre (6.9-hectare) site of the J.C. Penney and its parking lot, part of an eventual transformation that Chief Executive Officer David Simon has likened to a suburban version of Hudson Yards, the massive complex of offices, shops and residences on Manhattan’s western edge.

To read the complete story click here. 

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