Philly is Redevelopment Heaven

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor After several years of renovation and $150 million, the redevelopment of the former Echelon Mall in Voorhees is almost complete. The site, now known as Voorhees Town Center, was bought by Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust [...]

After several years of renovation and $150 million, the redevelopment of the former Echelon Mall in Voorhees is almost complete. The site, now known as Voorhees Town Center, was bought by Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust in 2003. The company planned to transform the property into an attractive town center. Half the mall was demolished to make way for residential units, including both apartments and condos, as well as office space and an outdoor boulevard with restaurants and shops. Downtown Voorhees also recently moved to the Township’s administrative offices to the new 22,000-square-foot Town Center.

Meanwhile, a major deal concerning another Philadelphia regional mall is expected to close in August. Lend Lease, the Australia-based investment company that owns King of Prussia Mall, has decided to sell its 50 percent interest in the property to Morgan Stanley Prime Property Fund. Lend Lease will sell its part for $545 million, and the company is expected to gain another $100 million in profits after taxes and other transaction costs. According to Lend Lease, the company will use the earnings to pay its debts and fund other investment projects in the United States.

King of Prussia is also enjoying a wave of real estate development projects, including a 125-acre mixed-use community, developed by Dennis Maloomian of the Realen Properties, in association with Northwestern Mutual, that is located on a former golf course. The development, called The Village at Valley Forge, includes high-end retail shops, restaurants, recreational areas, office space, hotels and parking, as well as 3,000 residential units consisting of apartments, condos and townhouses. A 107,000-square-foot Wegmans store is rising off North Warner Road, and the former Sheraton Park Ridge, which is located across the street, is set to be renovated into a new hotel with 185 rooms.