Future of Granite Run Mall
Middletown Twp., Pa. - February 18, 2011 -- Business may be booming at many of the area's shopping centers, but some smaller malls have become shells of what they used to be.
The Granite Run Mall is 37 years old, but its future may be in jeopardy.
Though the current owners say they don't plan to close the mall, financial facts may force their hand.
Simon Property Group owns the Granite Run Mall along with the Macerich Company.
Published reports say as of September 17% of the stores in the mall were empty.
In October, the owners said they couldn't handle their debt on the property, and now, Simon and Macerich are more than a month behind on their $115 Million mortgage.
And Macerich's CEO has said they likely won't own the property a year from now.
Scott Calloway, chair of the Middletown Township Council, says it's clear the Mall isn't what it used to be.
"It's obvious when you walk through the mall it is not what it used to be. It used to be vibrant mall the parking lot was full, people were in the mall shopping, eating and other things. And now, when you walk through the mall, it is empty mostly empty," said Scott Calloway.
A Simon Group spokesman gave the following statement: "There is no basis to rumors about the mall closing. We are open for business as usual." But he declined to answer questions about the mall's occupancy rate or financial situation.
Galloway is concerned about how declining revenues from the mall are affecting the township and county's bottom lines.
In contrast to Granite Run, the Springfield Mall, less than five miles away, is flourishing.
It went through a tough time two years ago, when Strawbridge's moved out, but now Target has moved in.
"In 2009, we brought Target onto the property after having a vacant anchor for a while, so that has really energized the center here. And we also have a very high occupancy rate here as well," said Michael Rakers, Springfield Mall General Manager.
And shoppers who chose the Springfield Mall over Granite Run tell me they just like the stores and the "vibe" here better.
"It is closer, number one," says Kathy Pride. "The stores here and the Target here now, make it convenient."
"This is closer to home, and I always go here. And there are better stores," says Katie Santo.
About two years ago, the owners of Granite Run approached the township about a revitalization project for the mall that would have moved the movie theaters and added restaurants. The plan was approved, it never got under way.
pennsylvania, shopping, local/state
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