Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Here's the latest on the Granite Run Mall Project

With the 4th quarter of 2014 quickly approaching, things are starting to pick up for what's in store for the Granite Run Mall.  It's been known for awhile that occupants currently in the "Mall" section have been told their last day will be December 31st of this year.  If you've been in the mall recently, you'll have noticed that many have picked up and have left already.
Granite Run to be modeled after Hunt Valley Towne Center


What people need to understand is that this won't be the same shopping format that launched the mall back in the seventies.  That concept that included big retail stores anchoring the three corners of the mall worked back then, but now it's a whole new ball game.  Those stores Sears, JCPenny and Boscov's have long term leases and are expecting to remain, but the proposed town center will go after entertainment, restaurants and medium to higher end retail.  To energize that strategy a new movie theater is expected at the center of the proposed development.  If you're trying to visualize what that may entail, check out Hunt Valley Towne Center in Maryland.  Why Hunt Valley Towne Center? Well, that was the property developed by the current owners, BET and is serving as the model for the Granite Run Towne Center. To get an idea of what that is like,  check out that towne center's website or Facebook page

Unlike Hunt Valley, the Granite Run site will NOT be getting a Wegmans.  That's been confirmed with two reasons given: 1) There are plans for a Wegmans in Concordville which isn't far enough away to put another one here.  2) The mall's current site doesn't have the square area to put something as big as a Wegmans.  One reason being that there is a pipeline that runs through the mall's property and is located between Sears and the Acme. That doesn't mean there aren't big names interest in this property, there are, and a lot of them.  Before I get to that, let's talk about Acme.

With all the proposals going on, Acme is looking to step up its game with a new cafe and possibly a whole remodel of their store.  Acme is very interested in the walk friendly paths that BET is looking to introduce that should go over well with residents.  Yep, there will be residents.  BET has come out and stated that two residential apartment structures are needed and without them they may not have the attraction to make the who deal work.   A company called Avalon Bay is expected to develop the apartment complexes with monthly rents around $1,500 to $1,800.  These will be marketed towards young professionals and empty nesters.  The layout is still yet to be determined, but expect some of the higher end apartments that this area has ever seen.  That may include concierge services, collaborative work spaces, common social areas, fitness centers and living space with one to two bedrooms.  In fact, they're looking to do 385 units with a projected accommodation of about 584 people.  (those are BET's numbers, not mine). 

Before I get to the good stuff, there are some interesting facts that really speak volumes of how badly the mall has lost value over 15 years.  Back in 2000, the mall's assessed value was over $100 million with a yearly school tax revenue of $2.3 million.  For 2015, the value is projected to be $21 million with a school tax revenue of just over $600,000.

Okay, so who's interested in setting up business here?!  I've saved the best for last and here's why:  BET isn't some small group of investors who just wanted to get into the towne center business.  They are well financed, experienced at this type of development and are probably the best group that can pull something like this off.  There's A LOT yet to play out but BET has publicly stated that they have had discussions with Urban Outfitters who in their own right could really attract some very nice businesses and restaurants to this development.  BET went on to state that they have an impressive list and interest from business looking to be apart of this, but as these things go, each is looking to see who makes a move.  I suppose it's a lot like going to a school dance, you want to know who you'll see there before making the effort to go. 




21 comments:

  1. Yippeeee! We used to live in Towson MD, and frequently visited Hunt Valley. The shopping center there is lovely! What a perfect replacement to the Granite Run mall property! So excited to see this happen!

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    1. I am originally from Delco and lived in Media for nine years.I have lived in Hunt Valley for 15.This will work out well for the Media area.

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  3. There's already a buzz about this mall, and we're ready to swing by with sharpened credit cards!

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  4. Speaking of and on that pipeline' running threw the mall property. Dose anyone really know what is being or proposed to be flowing thru that line? That line was formerly operated by Sun Oil Co. At times over the years different types of product was flowing. From Oil to raw gas now I hear that they want to ship LPG from the Marcellus shale drillers in Pa. To the port here Marcus Hook . A majority of that line was installed about 1965. I hope that new construction will leave that line alone.

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  5. Glad to see they are developing the property but horrified by that ridiculously hokie looking façade. Corny. Contrived. It's as cheap as it is stupid looking, unbearably kitsch, they'll ruin the place before they start with that design, they can't be serious!! Two Suggestions:
    1. For the design, add a little class, think Merchants Square in Williamsburg VA, or even just Virginia-style shopping centers in general.
    2. Add a large diameter, ground level fountain which is beautiful in the summer and becomes an ice rink in the winter, just like they just did at the waterfront in Georgetown (Washington DC). Because it is ground level it doesn't divide the space, it unites it. The winter skating brings people to gather in the winter as well and the restaurants are busy year round. Great during the holidays to shop, skate, and gather for warm food and drink. http://www.thewashingtonharbour.com/skating/
    Good luck
    -Bill

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    1. I think it's a stretch to compare Media to Williamsburg or especially Georgetown. You're talking about different economic stratospheres there - Media's best off with a good selection of stores that provide value and hopefully some privately owned restaurants.

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  6. Looking forward to this! I personally like The Grove and American at Brand in Los Angeles. Talk about high-end.

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  7. I thought there was going to be a Toll Brothers project for private residences there as well?

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  8. Can't wait to see high-end retail in there!

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  9. I can't wait to see if the neighborhood will actually support high end retail, apt's, and restaurants. To my eye, GRM was always "lowbrow," and low end. I wish everyone well in this endeavor.

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  10. What is wrong with the mall concept? I am not interested in shopping outside in inclement weather and, if this is set up in a manner similar to Concordville and Brandywine Town Centers, not interested in repeatedly getting in my car to get from one group of shops to another. As for the apartments: doesn't everyone want to live in the middle of a shopping center?

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    1. I agree. I don't understand why indoor malls and going out and these outdoor strip malls are so popular. I prefer climate control and a nice indoor walk.

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  11. Michael Jordan, MediaAugust 27, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    Maybe Bruce Toll should read the comments on this blog, especially about the malls in Virginia.

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    1. Bruce Toll is too busy swimming in his pool of money

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  12. I don't like the residential units because the traffic situation in this area is already a clogged up mess. Unless the roads to and from Franklin Mint area to Media are widened then this is going to be terrible. There is already a proposed area for the other side of Baltimore Pike going South from about 452 to the Mint. Why don't they do something with the already existing Mint building instead of creating this mess. We should have much more open space. Middletown Supervisors need to get their heads out of the sand and worry about practical things instead of revenue $'s !

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  13. This will be great for the area. I do hope Acme leaves, they are a terrible store that is way overpriced. They need to go too.

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  14. Looking at Hunt Valley's list of stores, I think we have different definitions of "high end". Maybe I'm too used to King of Prussia. But could empty nesters want to live in a mall close to a hospital?. Good tie-in there.

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  15. Northern Liberties has some nice mixed-use examples, such as liberties walk: http://www.liveatpiazza.com/units/liberties-walk-1024-302/

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    1. Who is going to give the eulogy for Media Borough....... the street that thinks its a town......
      The proposed development will kill State St.

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    2. I don't think State Street will be hurt too bad by the new shopping center. State street has a great variety of small locally owned businesses, mom and pop shops, craft stores and many interesting restaurants and eateries. At the new shopping center you will see only national retail brands and large chain restaurants. It speaks to a different market.

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