Gallery plan: More food, no department store

A high-end department store has not been found to move into the Gallery. The Kmart space may be broken up into smaller stores. (Ed Hille / Staff Photographer)

"It looks like Plan B for the Gallery," writes the Inquirer's Chris Hepp here.  -- "Let's talk a bit about the Gallery," Joseph Coradino, boss at Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, said, re the long-delayed upgrade of the company's Center City Philadelphia shopping center, in yesterday's investor conference call.

How's Coradino going to tap the modest retailing center into Center City's growing middle-income population, while also filling the three-story hole that opens when Kmart pulls out this Spring? Is he still trying to find a Nordstrom's or some other high-end department store, as he said last summer? No: "We have ruled out traditional fashion department stores," Coradino said. "We're working with two potential anchor tenants that would be new to the market, along with several other key tenants, while simultaneously seeking additional public financing" and outside private investors or co-developers.

Who'll be the mysterious anchor tenants, if not department stores? "Food will be an important component," Coradino said. Does that mean a supermarket? Or maybe restaurants like the fancy eating emporia that have boosted PREIT's Moorestown and Plymouth Meeting malls (or the Eataly that Michael Klein wrote about last fall). Restaurants at Plymouth Meeting now "exceed... what the department stores are doing, in terms of sales volume" and are now "a significant anchor" at the Montgomery County center, Coradino told the crowd.

Bottom line, with outside public and/or private money, restaurants or "fast fashion" tenants, Coradino pledged he'll "finalize our redevelopment plans for the Gallery... without compromising our balance sheet or (net operating income) growth."