PREIT seeks gaming for Moorestown Mall

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Moorestown Mall is banking on gaming to fuel its renaissance.

Joseph Coradino, CEO of real estate company and mall owner PREIT, said the plan would need voter approval.

“We will need a Moorestown referendum to have games of chance like Skee-Ball. We think it’s probably too late this year, so we’re probably thinking about next May or next November,” Coradino explained at a recent public meeting.

Decades ago, Moorestown voted to opt out of the New Jersey State Amusement Gaming Licensing Act of 1959, which allows a municipality to permit games of chance that involve the giving of prizes or the issuance of redemption tickets for prizes, according to Moorestown officials. Therefore, voter approval would be needed for Moorestown to reverse the previous decision.

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Moorestown Mayor Nicole Gillespie said she would support bringing gambling to the mall.

“Changing this would absolutely not allow gambling, just fun games with non-monetary prizes,” he said, citing the Chuck E. Cheese pizza and party chain, whose restaurants offer games that pay tickets to be redeemed for small prizes.

“If PREIT chooses to hold the referendum, it must put it on the ballot by petition and must do so in a general election (in November). And if the question appears on the ballot, I will vote to change this rule in Moorestown.”

PREIT officials revealed the gaming plan, their desire to attract more family entertainment options and discussed other mall developments during a meeting they hosted Monday night inside the mall to update Moorestown residents and others about the ongoing effort to reuse much of the retail mall. .

PREIT Leasing Director and Vice President Joseph Aristone also announced the extension of a long-term lease with principal tenant Boscov’s, an independent family-owned department store and the only one of four major department stores remaining in Moorestown. Mall.

Additionally, the public heard updates from a Cooper University Health Care official on the construction of its medical center in the former Sears department store and from the developer of Pearl, a 375-unit apartment complex that will include 75 units of affordable housing. Both projects were announced earlier this year.

“We are expanding the scope to attract more people to the (mall) property,” Aristone explained, referring to medical facilities and apartments.

Christine C. Winn of Cooper University Health Care said its new 165,000-square-foot center will complement the expanding operation at its Camden hospital complex by becoming an outpatient-focused facility that houses specialized medical offices and 92 exam rooms, services surgery, therapy and radiology. and ambulance service but no emergency room.

Destroyed sections of the first and second floors are visible from the parking lot and some construction crews are working on the front entrance of the now-fenced-off building facing Route 38 that has been vacant since 2020.

“September 20, 2023 may be the day we have a ribbon cutting with the second floor opening by the end of the year,” Winn predicted.

At the far end of Boscov’s Mall, a fence was recently installed around the entire parking area between the store’s rear entrance and Nixon Drive, where Pearl’s studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments will be built. The project will also help the municipality meet its affordable housing obligation.

Daniel M. Herman of housing developer Bel Canto Asset Growth said site work for the four-story, multi-building complex will begin in October and vertical construction should begin in early 2023 with completion expected by the spring 2025.

“The four floors will wrap around their own parking lot and courtyards, and a swimming pool will be located within the buildings,” Herman said.

Meanwhile, five new businesses, mostly retailers, are expected to open at the mall ahead of the main holiday season in November and December. Is it so:

  • Family Virtual Fun Zone with virtual reality, video games and more
  • Amarri with active family sportswear
  • i see baby
  • Carter Wear for men
  • charm city mom boutique

The former Lord and Taylor is now a Turn 7 clearance store and one of the mall’s largest tenants. However, Coradino said PREIT is also exploring other options for that space and also hopes to attract a wine and spirits store to occupy the freestanding building that was once a Sears auto and tire store.

“I would love to have a food market here,” Coradino confessed. Mark Hines, president of the Moorestown Economic Development Council, expressed enthusiasm for the mall’s overall makeover, but asked about the state of retail. but between store consolidations and online shopping, retailers are reluctant to open that many stores,” Coradino lamented, but added that there may be more retail after the Cooper center and apartments open. Charlenia Webb, who is opening the Family Virtual Fun Zone, asked Coradino what is being done to include more minority-run businesses in the tenant mix.

“PREIT has been very proactive when it comes to looking for minority-owned businesses,” he told her.

The mall has more than a few minority businesses and they include Garden Smoothies Café, operated by Webb’s husband Jay, according to mall management marketing coordinator Evan Ieopson.

PREIT also owns the nearby Cherry Hill Mall and Cumberland Mall in Vineland, Cumberland County.

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