MOORESTOWN – New tenants coming to South Jersey malls show the changing face of shopping centers.
A Planet Fitness gym will open Thursday at Moorestown Mall, occupying more than 22,000 square feet in a complex that’s lost several big retailers in recent years.
And Round1, a “family entertainment center” based in Japan, will debut Oct. 24 at Deptford Mall. The new arrival will offer 12 bowling lanes, five billiards tables and 250-plus arcade games — will occupy more than 50,000 square feet vacated by the struggling Sears chain.
Mall operators say they’re eager to diversify their tenant mix in the face of a harsh retail environment, particularly for traditional brick-and-mortar chains.
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“Overall, what we’re doing is providing people with more reasons to visit our property,” said a statement from Macerich, a California firm that owns Deptford Mall.
It noted an interest in attracting “exciting entertainment concepts, immersive technology experiences (and) a variety of dining options.”
The statement also pointed to “international brands that are expanding in the U.S. market.”
Recent arrivals at Deptford Mall include two Australian retailers, Lovisa and Cotton On.
Lovisa is described as a “woman’s fast-fashion jewelry and accessories concept,” while Cotton On sells casual clothing, accessories and homewares.
PREIT, a Philadelphia-based firm that owns Moorestown Mall and other shopping centers, wants to attract “healthcare providers, food markets, fulfillment and logistics operators,” Joseph Coradino, the firm’s CEO, said earlier this year.
Both PREIT and Macerich also want to develop housing and hotels at some properties.
“We think of our well-situated properties, like Deptford Mall, as ‘town centers’ for the wide range of activities people enjoy,” said Macerich.
Similarly, Coradino has said PREIT’s properties could evolve into “commerce districts.”
The mall operators are attempting to ease financial strains that have worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic.
PREIT in August reported a net loss of $49 million for first-half 2020. That compared to a year-before deficit of $33.9 million for the firm, which also owns the Cherry Hill Mall and Cumberland Mall in Vineland.
Macerich had a first-half net loss of $17.6 million. It reported net income of $23.5 million a year earlier.
The Moorestown location is the first in a mall for Billy Olson, who operates 19 Planet Fitness gyms in South Jersey.
“The mall does provide advantages including space, parking, and visibility,” he said Tuesday. “We were able to build a state-of-the-art facility and not be confined by the amount of space to use.”
Planet Fitness occupies six former units at the Route 38 shopping center, which saw closings for a Lord + Taylor department store in January and a Sears store in April.
“We wanted to be part of this mall’s revitalization,” added Olson, who also operates a Planet Fitness in the renovated Westmont Theatre in Haddon Township.
“This is a great community that values fitness,” he added of Moorestown, saying Planet Fitness wants “to play a role in investing in this community.”
Round1, with an entrance marked by a giant red-and-white bowling pin, occupies the second floor of a former Sears store at the Deptford complex. The lower floor hold Dick’s Sporting Goods, which recently moved from a nearby shopping center.
The Deptford business also will offer two party rooms with karaoke machines, as well as snack foods and a bar for patrons.
The Deptford location is Round1’s first in New Jersey.
The chain has more than 100 locations in Japan and 44 in this country, including one at Fashion District Philadelphia in Center City.
“It’s always been a plus to bring a first-to-market concept to our property,” according to the Macerich statement. But the firm asserted, “It’s the overall complement of attractions that give places like Deptford Mall real resonance with people.”
Jim Walsh is a free-range reporter who’s been roaming around South Jersey for decades. His interests include crime, the courts, economic development and being first with breaking news. Reach him at [email protected] or look for him in traffic.
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This article originally appeared on Cherry Hill Courier-Post: Planet Fitness, Round1 will bring changes to local malls