Bill signing paves way for Gallery redevelopment

Mayor Michael Nutter on Thursday signed a package of bills that paved the way for the $325 million renovation of The Gallery.

The project, which is expected to begin this summer and open sometime in 2017, is the culmination of a years-long effort by city and business leaders to revitalize the stretch of Market Street east of City Hall.

“This is obviously a once-in-a-generation investment in this city,” Nutter said.

The newly rebuilt urban shopping mall will be called the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia.

Officials from the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust declined to identify future tenants, but said it is expected to include 125 new stores, including high-end retail and popularly-priced outlet stores, with a mix of restaurants and entertainment outlets for good measure.

“This is going to be a project that will transform the retail environment in Philadelphia,” said Joe Coradino, CEO of PREIT.

The path to finalizing the deal was not always smooth sailing.

The mall became increasingly desolate as tenants closed their stores or their leases were not renewed. Toward the end, entire floors were seemingly abandoned, and existing tenants had little clue how long the mall would remain open.

The project is expected to create 2,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs.

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