Voorhees Town Center


Voorhees Town Center

Voorhees Town Center (formerly Echelon Mall) is a small regional shopping mall and a future residential area located in Voorhees Township, New Jersey, United States.coord|39.8500|-75.0023|display=title The property is currently under redevelopment and is anticipated to be completed by mid-2008. [ [http://www.snl.com/irweblinkx/file.aspx?IID=102991&FID=3345872 "PREIT Announces Construction to Begin on Voorhees Town Center: Demolition of former Sears Building at Echelon Mall Tuesday, January 30, 2007 at 11:00 AM Redevelopment will transform Echelon Mall into Voorhees Town Center"] , PREIT press release dated January 29, 2007. Accessed February 28, 2008.]

Echelon Mall

Until redevelopment began in January 2007, the Echelon Mall had a gross leasable area of 1,127,308 square feet (104,730 m²). [ [http://www.icsc.org/apps/dmmdisp.php?dispid=NJ0520 Directory of Major Malls: Echelon Mall] , International Council of Shopping Centers. Accessed August 16, 2007.] [ [http://www.icsc.org/srch/lib/SCDefinitions99.pdf "ICSC SHOPPING CENTER DEFINITIONS: Basic Configurations and Types"] , International Council of Shopping Centers. Accessed August 16, 2007.] This made it the second largest mall in southern New Jersey after Cherry Hill Mall. Echelon was developed in 1970 as the center of a residential and commercial center in Voorhees.

Decline

Echelon was a very popular mall up until around 2000, when the mall began to struggle to the point where some are preparing to consider it a dead mall, even though the surrounding area is not considered to be in decline. By 2005, the vacancy rate was nearly 75% [ [http://www.tomlorenz.com/braindump/000270.php Wither Echelon?, Tom Lorenz's Blog. March 4, 2005] ] . Echelon has had several problems contributing to its high vacancy rate including its overexpansion with four anchors. Sears, which was built in 1998 closed just three years later. The rest of the mall also did not get a much needed renovation to stay competitive and attractive. J.C. Penney left the mall a year after Sears. There has been a gradual loss of national chains since.

In addition, there are numerous other malls close by in South Jersey, including moderately-sized malls in Moorestown, Cherry Hill and Deptford. While Echelon competed with these centers for years, the advent of newer centers such as The Promenade at Sagemore in Marlton, and significant renovation of the Deptford Mall, with the addition of a JCPenney, have provided more attractive shopping alternatives in the area. Also, whereas most United States shopping malls are located near an Interstate highway or at least a principal thoroughfare, Echelon is relatively difficult to get to, located at the somewhat obscure intersection of Somerdale and Burnt Mill Roads in Voorhees.

Redevelopment plans

After its proposal for a Wal-Mart store was rejected by residents, PREIT submitted plans to demolish the abandoned anchor stores and adjacent mall space to make way for a mixed-use "town center" featuring a convert|65000|sqft|m2|-2|sing=on supermarket and convert|130000|sqft|m2|-3 of retail stores along a landscaped boulevard. PREIT will renovate the newly downsized mall to house convert|253000|sqft|m2|-2 of small specialty shops along with anchor stores Macy's and Boscov's.

The mall will be renamed as Voorhees Town Center. The groundbreaking ceremony on the new project was on January 30, 2007. [Grzyboski, Lisa. [http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070131/BUSINESS/701310345/1003 Town Center project under way in Voorhees] , "Courier-Post", January 31, 2007.] The former Sears and JCPenney buildings, and the mall corridor between Macy's and the former JCPenney had been demolished.

As of December 2007, work has been completed on the mall portion of the town center. The mall has officially changed to Voorhees Town Center. However, as of May 2008, the Echelon Mall signage is still in place on its property. The rest of the town center is expected to be completed by the end of Spring 2008.

Anchors

*Boscov's (173,000 sq. ft.; originally Lit Brothers, later Gimbels and then Stern's)
*Macy's (224,000 sq. ft.; formerly Strawbridge's)

Former Anchors

*Sears (built and opened in 1998, closed 2001, demolished 2007)
*JCPenney (closed ca. 2003, demolished 2007)

References

External links

* [http://www.snl.com/irweblinkx/file.aspx?IID=102991&FID=3345872 PREIT press release]
* [http://www.voorheestowncenter.com Voorhees Town Center website]
* [http://www.icsc.org/apps/dmmdisp.php?dispid=NJ0520 International Council of Shopping Centers: Echelon Mall]


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