Source: Bucks Local News, Gary Puleo
UPPER MERION>>Things are coming down to the stretch for the unveiling of the brand new King of Prussia Mall.
Of course, with one half of the mall being 53 years old and the other half 35 years old, the only truly new part is the much anticipated connecting corridor that will fuse The Plaza and The Court into one giant megalopolis, officially opening on Aug. 18.
David Contis, president of Simon Malls, owner of the King of Prussia icon, led a hard-hat tour of the construction on Tuesday, which offered a rough glimpse into the imminent future that will include 50 new retailers, more than a dozen eateries and what is possibly the grandest take on the food court concept ever envisioned at any mall.
The new wing is largely leased, with more tenants coming on board throughout the summer and fall, noted Contis, who spent much of the tour focusing on the innovative food court-style collection of restaurants.
“One of the aspects that we’re very excited about today is we’re announcing a brand new dining area called Savor, which will open in August and will be the centerpiece here, with an incredible lineup of farm to table and fast casual restaurants,” Contis said.
Savor King of Prussia will feature popular regional and national favorites, including Shake Shack, Melt Shop, Sweetgreen, Kevin Sbraga’s The Fat Ham, Nicoletta and Hai Street Kitchen & Co.
Enhancing the dining experience and overall ambience, Savor offers soft seating lounges, multi-tiered fountains, device charging stations and plenty of natural light.
The emphasis on the welcoming light is his favorite aspect of the entire project, Contis allowed, as he walked past the barricaded stores, down the lengthy corridor tiled with marble and stone in intriguing geometric patterns.
“With the Savor area we wanted to develop a sense of community and bring our guests together in comfort and convenience and give them a chance to mingle,” Contis said. “We want people to stay longer … that’s what retail is all about. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s entertaining.”
Much of the light that floods Savor King of Prussia is furnished by what Contis referred to as “our living room window,” a massive wall of glass that overlooks the parking lot by Macy’s, which, along with Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus, has provided access to its store via the corridor.
New retailers that were announced on Tuesday include luxury eyewear brand Oliver Peoples; Bottega Veneta (BO-teg-a VEN-eta), which specializes in luxury handmade leather goods; Rag & Bone, offering men’s and women’s ready to wear and accessories; Calligaris (CALI-gar-iss), an international leader in versatile home furnishings and Tempur-Pedic, which join those retailers already welcomed into the fold recently, such as CH Carolina Herrera; Diane von Furstenberg; Robert Graham; Jimmy Choo and Stuart Weitzman.
A state-of-the-art, four-level parking deck with 1,200 spaces and several escalators that roughly fills the space where John Wanamaker reigned supreme from 1965 to 2011, will feature valet parking and a concierge station that will allow shoppers to drop off their keys and even have the concierge map out a shopping strategy and make restaurant reservations.
“Normally when you go to a parking deck it’s dark and dingy, while this has state of the art LED lighting,” Contis noted.
The outdoor walkway that shoppers have relied on for years to get from The Plaza to The Court has been blessed with a new roof and will remain where it always was.
In addition to King of Prussia’s expansion, there are currently redevelopment and expansion projects underway at 33 Simon properties in the U.S. and Europe, with a total cost of around $1.3 billion, Contis explained, adding, “Simon has been investing in our customers for many, many years.”
When the expansion is completed, King of Prussia Mall will be home to more than 400 stores.
“Now it’s a race to the finish,” Contis said, grinning.