The ceiling and a platform at the mall
|Location||King of Prussia in Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|Developer||The Kravco Co.|
|Management||Simon Property Group|
|Owner||King of Prussia Associates, Simon Property Group|
|No. of stores and services||400+|
|No. of anchor tenants||7|
|Total retail floor area||2,391,000 square feet (222,100 m2)|
|No. of floors||2 (3 in Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy*s, Bloomingdales, Pavilion; 3rd floor storage space in JCPenney)|
The King of Prussia Mall is the largest shopping mall in the United States of America in terms of leasable retail space. It is a luxury mall with numerous upscale retailers.
It is located in King of Prussia, an area within Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania, northwest of Philadelphia. The two sections that comprise the King of Prussia Mall include the Plaza at King of Prussia, anchored by Lord & Taylor, Sears, JCPenney, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom; and the Court at King of Prussia, which is anchored by Macy's and Bloomingdale's. The latter includes the Pavilion at King of Prussia.
King of Prussia Mall has its department stores: Nordstrom, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, JCPenney and Sears, and a diverse merchant mix of over 400 stores, including a collection of luxury retailers. King of Prussia Mall is one of the east coast's most iconic retail centers. A selection of international dining options are available at three food courts and in casual and fine dining establishments including Cheesecake Factory, Morton's The Steakhouse, Seasons 52, Maggiano's Little Italy and Legal Sea Foods, among others.
The mall was originally developed by the Kravco company. The Plaza at King of Prussia, the oldest portion of the complex, opened in 1963 as a modest open-air shopping mall anchored by JCPenney, discount department store E. J. Korvette, and an Acme "A-Frame" style supermarket. The Plaza prospered and by the late 1970s had become a partially enclosed super-regional mall anchored by department stores JCPenney, Gimbels, and Wanamaker's. The Wanamaker's store opened in 1965 in what had been an amphitheater.
By the late 1970s, The Plaza consisted of a small, fully enclosed section (connecting the three department stores) and a sprawling outdoor mall (featuring Woolworth's and Acme Markets). It was around this time Kravco noticed a demand for more upscale shopping in the northwest Philadelphia market. The company embarked on a second mall, The Court at King of Prussia, to be constructed across the street from The Plaza. The Court opened in 1981 as a fully enclosed mall anchored by department stores Bamberger's (later in 1986 to become Macy's), Bloomingdale's, and Abraham & Straus (A&S). In addition, Sears was added to The Plaza. Sears was built as a "store of the future" and was completed along with an expansion of the multi-level portion of the Plaza. The Garden Food Court was part of this expansion. Shoppers also said goodbye to inclement weather as the outdoor portion of The Plaza was enclosed. For the first time, King of Prussia visitors were inside all the time.
Through the 1980s, The Plaza sported such stores as Woolworth's, Herman's World of Sporting Goods, and a Lionel "Kiddie City" toy store. The Woolworth's store closed in 1993. The Plaza also featured two 1980's style video arcades, each named Spaceport, and the Sam Eric (later United Artists Plaza) movie theater which, in an era before multiplexes, had only one extra large 7m screen. This theatre was later split in half to add a second screen.
By the early 1990s, demand for luxury goods had grown across the nation and many upscale retailers were in a growth mode. Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom were all looking for new locations in the area, and Kravco didn't want any of them to land at a competing mall. The company's dilemma, though, was that The Court was on a small piece of land and couldn't expand, while The Plaza was too downscale for these stores. Kravco decided to embark on an ambitious campaign to almost completely rebuild The Plaza to make it just as attractive to upscale retailers as The Court and to begin marketing the two malls as a single entity (a pedestrian bridge and walkway connecting the malls was constructed around this time, though there have always been informal passageways from one to the other). The former Acme Markets location was demolished during this project; beforehand it moved a bit down the road into a new building, with a strip mall including a Tower Records shop (since closed).
The new Plaza is fully enclosed and has two levels throughout. Lord & Taylor opened its doors in the fall of 1995, while Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom opened theirs in the spring of 1996. Upscale stores at The Plaza are clustered in the southern end of the mall near Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom, while middle-market stores remain clustered in the northern end of the mall near JCPenney and Sears. The Court now contains a mix of upscale stores and middle-market stores.
The anchor lineup at both malls changed during the 1990s as the industry consolidated. Stern's, which had replaced Gimbels, left and JCPenney moved into its old space. John Wanamaker was acquired by May Department Stores, which rebranded all Wanamaker's as Hecht's, their Baltimore-Washington regional nameplate. Abraham & Straus was consolidated with Macy's and Strawbridge & Clothier briefly took its place at The Court. Soon after, May acquired Strawbridge & Clothier, rebranded it as simply Strawbridge's, and merged it with Hecht's Philadelphia operations. The Hecht's (former John Wanamaker) at The Plaza became a Strawbridge's and the Strawbridge's (former Abraham & Straus) at The Court closed. The mall even featured an outlet of the popular New York City toy company FAO Schwarz, complete with a giant teddy bear, before hard financial times forced it to close in 2004.
The growth of large-format specialty retailers in the 1990s led to the early 2000s conversion of the former Strawbridge's store at The Court into The Pavilion at King of Prussia, which might be considered the "third mall" at King of Prussia. The Pavilion connects directly to The Court (though not originally not owned by Kravco, it was later acquired and is considered by many as an expansion of the Court). Tenants at The Pavilion include The Cheesecake Factory, Old Navy, H&M, Urban Outfitters, DSW Shoes, Five Below, and Morton's The Steakhouse and many more. Before development of The Pavilion, a 20 screen multiplex was proposed for the buildings third floor. This would have been the first movie theatre built inside The King of Prussia Mall.
The mall served as the home of the Philadelphia Freedoms tennis team of World TeamTennis in 2008 and 2009. Whenever a tennis event was to occur, a temporary tennis stadium was constructed in the parking lot of the Bloomingdale's anchor store. Eventually, the Freedoms left for The Pavilion at Villanova University in 2010.
On Black Friday of 2010 an "all call" of store net sales for the day reported that in total all of the stores in the King of Prussia malls and its outlying stores located within the mall complex had an excess of $1,000,000,000 in sales.
In 2011, Simon increased its ownership of the King of Prussia Mall from 12.4 percent to 96 percent, buying Lend Lease's 50 percent ownership of the mall. Lend Lease had bought its stake in the mall in 1996, with Kravco, Simon, and three family trusts owning the remaining 50 percent at the time.
King of Prussia today
Owned and managed by Simon Property Group of Indianapolis, the upscale mall, anchored by Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, JCPenney, Sears and Macy's, has over 400 stores and restaurants. It is also the sole outpost in Philadelphia for a number of high-end stores including Stuart Weitzman, Hugo Boss, Betsey Johnson, Love Culture, Kate Spade, DKNY, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Cartier, Anne Fontaine, Tory Burch and Hermès. King of Prussia frequently sees the addition of new retailers. The following opened for business in 2011: Lululemon, True Religion, 77kids, Ermenegildo Zegna, Vera Bradley, L.L. Bean, Touche Accessories, Lush Cosmetics, and Love Culture. Stores set to open in Spring 2012 include Longchamp, Omega, Aveda, and Tommy Bahama. September 2, 2012 saw the opening of the 2000 sq. ft, Burton Snowboards. It is their first store in Pennsylvania, and one of five on the East Coast.
The mall is a prominent tourist destination in the Philadelphia area, with an estimated 20-25% of visitors as tourists. Several nearby hotels offer mall tourist packages, which typically include mall gift cards. The mall employs over 7,000 people in the area.
Due to the mall's size, several retailers rent more than one space. For example, the mall has three Sunglass Hut Internationals, five Auntie Anne's Pretzels, two Coach stores, two Victoria's Secrets, two H&Ms, two Starbucks restaurants, three GameStop stores (with one GameStop almost directly above another), two General Nutrition Center stores, two Bath & Body Works, two AT&T Stores, and two Teavana stores.
In addition to over 20 mid-range restaurants like Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen, the complex has three distinct food courts, offering everything from Five Guys and Chick-fil-A to Morton's Steakhouse, and upscale dining environment.
The Court is linked to the Plaza by a covered outdoor walkway, which features an array of plants, benches, and speakers playing tasteful jazz music. Its anchor stores are Macy's and Bloomingdale's. It originally had a third anchor, Abraham & Straus, which sold its store in 1988 to Strawbridge and Clothier, which subsequently relocated to the former Wanamaker location at The Plaza in 1996 upon its acquisition by May Department Stores Co. Its spot was redeveloped as the shopping complex's newest section, the Pavilion at King of Prussia. Stores in this section include a double-level Urban Outfitters, Five Below and The Cheesecake Factory. One of the complex's three food courts is also located in the Court. The Court houses more upscale shops than the Plaza, and was also the original concept of The King of Prussia Mall.
The mall has several businesses within its own parking lots, on its property, including a Crate & Barrel, a Seasons 52, and a Wells Fargo branch. There are also several large stores located in the immediate vicinity of the mall, including a 16 screen United Artists Theaters with an IMAX theater, a Wegman's Food Market, a Costco Wholesale, Toys "R" Us, Best Buy, Nordstrom Rack, Wal-Mart, Capital Grille, and several luxury and affordable hotels. Lockheed Martin also has a massive campus overlooking the mall area.
The sixth anchor store in the Plaza (the former Wanamaker's/Strawbridge's/Macy's building), was demolished during the fall of 2011. Over 100,000 sq ft. of retail space adjacent to the former department store is currently under redevelopment, and some of the stores within the redevelopment have already opened, including a relocated, 2-level Forever 21 and an Athleta. H&M plans on relocating to a 2-level store as well, and they will open right next to the new Forever 21. An employee of the current H&M store reveals that the new store will open on Wednesday, November 21, 2012, which is the day before Thanksgiving.
On November 29, 2011, Simon Property Group announced plans to create a 140,000 sq ft. expansion to connect The Court and The Plaza. This new retail connector will feature over 40 stores, dining choices from some of Philadelphia's well-known celebrity chefs, an upscale dining pavilion and a customer lounge. This proposal, which includes expanding the adjacent parking deck, is still subject to approval by the local government. This project will make King of Prussia Mall the largest official shopping mall in the United States (larger than Mall of America in overall square footage, not just in retail space, as it is now), and it will be under one roof for the first time. If the plan is approved, construction will begin in late 2013, with completion by 2015. Several outparcels are also proposed for this expansion. The Container Store has received approval from Upper Merion Township, and will be located in the outer parking lot of The Court with frontage along Dekalb Pike (US 202).
- JCPenney (171,558 sq ft.) Opened 1966 as Gimbels, closed 1987, reopened as Stern's 1988, closed 1989, reopened as JCPenney 1992
- Lord & Taylor (120,000 sq ft.) Opened 1995
- Neiman Marcus (138,775 sq ft.) Opened 1996
- Nordstrom (225,000 sq ft.) Opened 1996
- Sears (215,252 sq ft.) Opened 1983
- Two-Story Retail Building (67,753 sq ft.) Opened 1965 as John Wanamaker. Re-branded as Hecht's in 1995, Strawbridge's in 1997, and Macy's Plaza in 2006. Closed in 2007. Demolished in 2011. To open in Fall of 2012.
- "King of Prussia Mall Fact Sheet". Simon Property Group. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- Online NewsHour: Paradox of Choice - December 26, 2003
- Largest Shopping Malls in the United States
- Kostelni, Natalie (September 16, 2011). "Simon Property takes control at King of Prussia Mall". Philadelphia Business Journal. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
- UA King Of Prussia Stadium 16 & IMAX Showtimes and Tickets
- Kostelni, Natalie (October 11, 2010). "Wanamaker's building at mall to be razed for new retail, parking".
- Van Allen, Peter (August 14, 2012), "What’s new at the King of Prussia Mall?", Philadelphia Business Journal, bizjournals.com, retrieved September 9, 2012
- Shoemaker Debree, Crissa (November 29, 2011). "King of Prussia announces new expansion". The Intelligencer. Retrieved November 30, 2011.