It’s safe to say that 2020 will be a year that we will never forget! While the pandemic tested our resolve and resiliency, it also reinforced the importance of community. Time and time again, we heard incredible stories about how KOP’s businesses pivoted to meet the needs of their customers, while balancing ever-changing restrictions. We witnessed businesses banding together to support one another or help the greater community. These stories remind us why KOP is such a special community for businesses and residents alike.
Despite COVID-19, our organization had a terrific and productive year, moving important projects forward, like the First Avenue Linear Park, and doing our own “pandemic pivot,” as we shifted our marketing efforts to support KOP’s recovery and reopening.
We are proud to share our progress, share a few of the stories that inspired and moved us and provide an update on KOP’s continued transformation, in the digital release of our 2021 Report to the Community.
Highlights from the 2021 Report to the Community include:
- Investment continues to flood into KOP, even during the pandemic. Nine projects were completed in 2020, with 15 in the pipeline.
- Businesses within the District contributed $61.6M in tax revenue to the local economy in 2020.
- KOP is becoming a healthcare hot spot, with Main Line Health and the King of Prussia Surgery Center opening in 2020, CHOP’s inpatient hospital opening in fall 2021, plus top providers like Einstein, Jefferson, Recovery Centers of America and others. In the heart of “Cellicon Valley,” The Discovery Labs focuses on life-changing and lifesaving therapies and is home to prestigious companies like Toscoh Biosciences, GlaxoSmithKline, WuXI Biologics and the Center for Breakthrough Medicines.
- King of Prussia’s commercial office market is still hot. Since 2010, employment has grown by 20% to 63,849 people. Class A vacancy remains relatively low at 15.5%, while rents continue to rise.
- While it was a very difficult year for KOP’s hotels, we still see investment in this sector, with the Alloy King of Prussia – a DoubleTree by Hilton undergoing a large-scale renovation and rebranding and the opening of the Element Valley Forge expected this summer. KOP accounted for 25% of hotel room demand and 26% of hotel room revenue within Montgomery County.
- Restaurants and retailers still flock to KOP, with 33 new businesses opening in 2020, and six restaurants and at least four retailers opening soon.
- It was a banner year for Valley Forge Casino Resort, which reported $278M in revenue in 2020, up from $165M in 2019.
- SEPTA’s King of Prussia Rail achieved several significant milestones in 2020 and early 2021, including the FTA’s issuance of the FEIS and Record of Decision and SEPTA’s allocation of $40M for Phase Two of the Preliminary Design (30%) for the project.
The 2021 Report to the Community also recaps King of Prussia District’s 2020-2023 Strategic Plan as well as progress across each of its programs. Highlights include:
- To date, King of Prussia District’s theconnector shuttle provided 79,079 rides for employees working at 14 commercial office properties. While shuttle service is currently suspended due to the pandemic, the District plans to resume service in 2021.
- King of Prussia District continues to manage King of Prussia Rail Coalition’s advertising and marketing efforts to support SEPTA’s King of Prussia Rail project.
- Phase One of the First Avenue Linear Park is now open for employees and residents to enjoy. New amenities include outdoor seating areas interspersed between a rain garden, planting beds, trees and stone seating walls
- King of Prussia District installed a second planted median on Route 76 in 2020, complementing the adjacent median installed on 1-76 in 2016. Since 2011, King of Prussia District invested over $2.1M in design, construction and maintenance of 29 roadway medians and gateways.
Marketing & Communications:
- In response to the pandemic, King of Prussia District launched a series of virtual events and successful promotions designed to help aid business recovery efforts and keep the public informed and entertained.
- King of Prussia District launched Let’s Go, KOP, a multi-channeled campaign aimed at reinvigorating visitors to return to KOP to safely shop, play, stay, dine and drink.
- The District partnered with Upper Merion Township to celebrate and thank first responders and essential workers through First Responder Appreciation Week and the We See You, KOP social media campaign.
- To date, King of Prussia District has conducted three tax policy studies to evaluate the tax structure and policy of UMT and make recommendations to encourage future business and increase ratables for UMT.
Land Use & Zoning:
- King of Prussia District released Renaissance Park, GSK and Discovery Labs Stakeholder Engagement: Ideas and Actions for the Future, a report that provides a matrix of prioritized improvements generated from stakeholder participation.