Where Stores Fade, Homes May Sprout
Home is increasingly where the shopping cart is, as big retail property owners retool.
These days, visitors entering the South Philadelphia Shopping Center at 23rd Street and Oregon Avenue are greeted by the blank rear wall of a ShopRite supermarket and a defunct auto center’s empty windows.
But the strip mall’s owner, Cedar Realty Trust, has plans to replace those streetscape-deadening facades with low-rise structures featuring dwellings over ground-floor shopping in an effort to redevelop the property into a 24-hour town center for the Girard Estate neighborhood.
Port Washington, N.Y.-based Cedar Realty Trust is among a growing number of big, publicly traded mall and retail-center owners that are redeveloping their shopping spaces to include housing. The hope is to enliven their properties with round-the-clock activity in an era of store bankruptcies and other setbacks.
It’s a trend that’s set to land hundreds of full-time residents in prominent malls and shopping centers in central Philadelphia and its nearby Pennsylvania suburbs, where land to build housing is otherwise scarce. Residential projects also are envisioned for Suburban Square in Ardmore, the Bala Cynwyd Shopping Center, and the Gallery at Market East in Center City.
“The goal is to have an appealing place to live, work, and play,” said Eli Holden, a research analyst covering real estate trusts for CenterSquare Investment Management in Plymouth Meeting.
Full story from philly.com here.