Source, Philadelphia Business Journal, Natalie Kostelni
About three years after completing a $150 million development that connected two ends of the King of Prussia Mall, Simon Property Group is embarking on another multimillion-dollar project at the retail property. Simon will renovate the interior of what many had known for decades as the Plaza. The space will be remodeled so that all of the lighting, flooring, finishes and other design details look just like the connector. That way the two sections will visually flow seamlessly and be updated.
Bob Hart, general manager of the mall, spoke to the Business Journal about the project and what’s next at the property.
Is there anything special about the timing of the project?
Yes. The connector really came out well. We wanted to carry that through and continue that look into the majority of the Plaza to elevate the shopping experience. We did a big expansion at the Plaza in 1994 and we brought in Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Lord and Taylor and all of the high-end stores. It held really well but the area of the connector is what we want to continue. We are always reinventing ourselves.
How much of the Plaza will get renovated? We are doing the majority of the Plaza. If you come out of the connector, you have Burberry and on the lower level is Apple and it will go toward Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor past to Nordstrom down to L.L. Bean and Clarks. The area between Primark and Forever 21 will not be done. That will be redevelopment No. 3. Change is constant in the retail business.
How about the Court section?
That renovation work was done when we did the connector.
Plans are afoot to eventually transform the vacant JCPenney into a mixed-use project with apartments, a hotel and an outdoor work-play space. How are those plans?
That is what is being considered for phase three. It’s a little premature and we’re not ready to do that.
How will you handle the construction work and keep the mall open?
All of the renovation work will be done at night when the mall is closed. You will see the progression, but it will not affect the shopping experience. The work is scheduled to begin this month and be completed early 2019.
What’s new at the mall?
Zara’s will open in 30,000 square feet. Eddie V’s is under construction and will open this summer. That is a Darden-owned restaurant. They own Seasons 52 and Capital Grille. Underneath Savor, there are two restaurants under construction. One is called North Italia and the other is Bar Taco.
About 10 years ago you had the Philadelphia Freedoms of WorldTeam Tennis Pro League play on a parking lot at the mall. Any chance to bring that back?
That was a great event. They moved to St. Joe’s but maybe one day we will have it back.