Friday, April 29, 2011

Target store is targeted for center in Valley Forge

by Peter Van Allen

"UPPER MERION — A stretch of Dekalb Pike could see some new retail blood in coming months.

A Target store under discussion for the Valley Forge Shopping Center is moving forward, while a Wawa and Chick-Fil-A are being talked about for the site of a former Petco, according to township officials and others with knowledge of the sites.

While the Wawa idea is still in the early stages and has not been formally proposed, engineers for the Target are undergoing studies and a formal proposal is expected soon, said Upper Merion Township Planner Rob Loeper.

“The project is moving forward. It’s taking a little longer,” said Loeper.

That’s good news for the retail stretch, which is just two miles from the King of Prussia Mall but a world away when it comes to consumer foot traffic.

While the nation’s second-largest mall has been able to attract the likes of Crate and Barrel, Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom, the stretch of Dekalb Pike, also Route 202, is wrestling with the vacancies of Petco and, across the street in the Valley Forge Shopping Center, 14 of the 38 retail locations, including a former Marshall’s store. Vacant stores range from 1,200 square feet to 32,000 square feet.

The 250,000-square-foot shopping center is anchored by Bed Bath & Beyond and Michael’s Arts & Crafts.

Within a five-mile radius of the shopping center, there are 74,000 households, with median household income of $76,000, according to Storetrax data provided by Metro Commercial Real Estate, which handles leasing for the retail center. An estimated 31,000 cars a day pass the site.

Eric Goldstein, executive director of the King of Prussia Business Improvement District, said new retail would be welcomed, though the organization hopes to work with developers to improve the quality of future development.

“Well, of course, the BID welcomes new retail projects to an already vibrant retail community, but we are hoping that future redevelopment efforts begin to pay more attention to [Route] 202 as King of Prussia’s Main Street,” said Goldstein, former director of University City District.

“What I mean by that from a land-use perspective is we would like to see more of the building masses on these projects pushed closer to the street with real efforts made to address quality improvements for pedestrians such as sidewalks, street trees and pedestrian-level street lighting.”

A formal proposal for a Wawa and Chick-Fil-A has not been made. Early discussion revolves around a so-called “super” Wawa store, which typically has a larger footprint and sells gasoline. The Wawa-based convenience store chain has 570 locations, including 200 with gasoline sales. Atlanta-based Chick-Fil-A, which has 1,500 restaurants, opened 80 locations last year.

The proposal for the Target would include tearing down much of the lower end of the Valley Forge Shopping Center, allowing for a big-box store but also additional parking. Some existing retail tenants would be relocated or would close. Negotiations with retailers affected are under way, Loeper said.

Target of Minneapolis has 1,750 stores. At present, the nearest Target stores are in Audubon and Plymouth Meeting.

“Because the [King of Prussia] mall is such a regional magnet, I think anyone with an attractive site plan is going to benefit from being near there. It can only add value,” said Paul Decker, president of the Valley Forge Convention & Visitors Bureau."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.