This center has 51 outlet stores. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for local business owners and entrepreneurs with a demonstrated history of successes to reach 43 Million annual tourists, 22 Million annual commuters and 1. It is seeking a development partner to construct an apartment house at Ninth Street, with a residential lobby facing Filbert Street. Through months of discussion about the city's financial contribution to the project, Philadelphians were shown only a single hazy rendering of what the Gallery's new Market Street facade would look like after the big white whale of a mall goes under the knife and reemerges as the "Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia.
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Coradino said the company is now seeking a partner to help build the first of three possible towers, starting with a mid-rise apartment house on the northeast corner of Ninth and Market. Its plan to make Filbert more pedestrian-friendly, by adding restaurants and food stores, and piggybacking off the popularity of the Reading Terminal and Chinatown, also should help alter our perceptions of that underappreciated side street.
And yet, with all the focus on upgrading the Gallery's sidewalk appeal, no one has paid much attention to the sidewalks themselves. To make the Fashion Outlet's new street-facing shops handicapped-accessible, PREIT has asked for permission to annex part of the Market Street sidewalk to build ramps for its new stores. The city should tell the developer those structures belong inside the shops, not in the public right-of-way.
PREIT's treatment of the sidewalks raises another issue. Although Market Street is being remade by the three major construction projects, each one is planning its own set of sidewalk furnishings. This go-it-alone approach will surely result in a hodgepodge of fixtures on the renovated blocks, while the unimproved blocks will be left with the same broken elements.
What we need is a coordinated plan for upgrading the sidewalks from City Hall to Independence Mall. It's not unreasonable to expect such civic-minded improvements given the windfall that Council bestowed on these property owners when it allowed digital signs on East Market.
In the end, we will judge the renovations not by the bargains we find inside the Gallery's sleek new interior, but by how much of the bustling urban streetscape depicted in the pretty pictures actually comes to life. The future Fashion Outlets. The goal of the renovation is to activate all sides of the three-block-long mall.
The company sees Filbert as a good place to extend the energy of the Reading Terminal Market and Chinatown, and wants pedestrianize the street, creating an intimate, walkable epicurean row. To accomplish such a dramatic transformation, PREIT acknowledges that the bus station and parking garage would have to be improved — or even removed.
The existing amphitheater at Ninth Street will be eliminated and replaced by a sidewalk-level plaza, leading to a streamlined, glass entrance cube designed by JPRA Architects. This rendering shows a new retail space facing the plaza, in what is now an open-air arcade. The shopfronts will be trimmed in dark gray granite and a limestone-like material. Most shops will be two stories and have generous second-floor windows. The cubes represent the locations where the digital signs will be placed.
The Gallery was built to support several large towers. The company will start with the eastern-most tower. It is seeking a development partner to construct an apartment house at Ninth Street, with a residential lobby facing Filbert Street.
The two other towers would come later. Two Philadelphia streets pass under the Gallery, Ninth and 10th. Now gloomy tunnels, they will be brightened with better lighting and improved sidewalk treatments. Walls that are now solid will be retrofitted with large display windows.
Nearly half the ground-floor façade is taken up by non-retail uses. Two of the bays flanking the doors are blank walls and will remain so after the renovation. Immediately to the west are three more blank bays, occupied by exit doors. Architect James Grigsby says he will use graphics to camouflage the doors if they cannot be removed. PREIT expects to lease space to about tenants, down from the original that populated the mall. Instead of large anchor stores like Kmart, there will be smaller retailers.
One advantage of eliminating the anchor stores is that PREIT will be able to create a continuous corridor on the second level, with retail spaces on either side. The walls will be white, the floors a dark gray. After the renovation, patrons arriving at Ninth Street will still enter a soaring light-filled space.
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