Owner of Plymouth Meeting, Willow Grove Malls Has an Unconventional Idea to Pay Off Debt

malls closed
Image via Tom Gralish, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Most of the restaurants at the food court at nearby Exton Square Mall are closed.

The owner of the Plymouth Meeting Mall and Willow Grove Park Mall, has an interesting idea — apartments, writes Bob Fernandez for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

PREIT, as well as other local mall owners, have been suffering in this harsh landscape of post-covid shopping climate. The malls are in debt.

Enter CEO Joseph F. Coradino with an idea of keeping the real estate but converting to…apartments? “I used to be in the mall business and now I’m in the real estate business.”

5,200 apartments on six mall sites, to be exact, looking at this plan as a way to raise cash, bring shoppers and diners onto its properties.

PREIT has proposed an 11-story apartment complex for the Plymouth Meeting Mall near roads that carry 92 million vehicles a year.

Their strategy is like other mall owners with similar ideas, to replace department stores with health-care facilities, hotels, entertainment centers, gyms, and apartments.

PREIT has a couple hurdles to jump, like navigating townships meeting, zoning hearing, and it’s $2.3billion in debt, much of it mortgages on mall properties in the area.

“We like what we own right now. We have a impressive portfolio,” Coradino maintained.

Read more about the possible conversion of PREIT’s Montco malls to apartments at The Philadelphia Inquirer.