|Strawbridge's in better times. Courtesy Labelscar.|
|8th & Market back when it was bordered by half of the city's major department stores. Courtesy the Hagley Archives.|
|The Gallery in its prime: Black Friday, 1980. Source: Temple University Urban Archives|
|Redevelopment is badly needed at the Gallery. This is the panorama one is treated to from Burlington Coat Factory's 3rd floor entrance.|
|Kmart's Gallery II entrance. The shut, mural-clad third floor entrance (closed off ca. 1990) leads to converted--and vacant--office space. Reactivating it for retail may be a possibility.|
|Taken from the upper Kmart entrance to Gallery I. Vacancy and marginal stores rule the roost on the upper floors. The largest storefront--"How Philly Moves"--is a public mural studio.|
|An entrance never again to be used by retail.|
|The new Mural Arts visitor center/store--the lone new addition in this part of the Gallery.|
|Vacancies around the former Strawbridge's.|
|Too many vacancies to be good...|
|The Wet Seal that is--unbelievably--still holding on.|
|At the Gallery--we accept food stamps. Is there any better a symbol for hard times?|
- Conversion of the entire site into a single anchor.
- Conversion of part of the site into a main anchor, and the remainder into a sub-anchor.
- Conversion of the great hall into a mall sub-court, e.g. the Pavilion at King of Prussia, flanked by basement and second story sub-anchors.
|The Black Friday view from higher in the post--today.|
|Mural Arts installs one of the first major examples of large signage on Market East. Another is 801 Market's leasing signs. Are any ads up on 1234 Market?|
|Underutilized space in the Reading Terminal Headhouse.|
|Bland blank walls fill this lower atrium. A service door, out of sight left, may be all that's left of a former subway access path.|
|The Market East Station entrance from the Headhouse atrium appears to be the least-utilized of the three, despite its also being the cleanest, in an atrium surrounded by blank walls rather than commercial offerings.|
|Closeup of the sign.|
|The current passage between the Headhouse and the Reading Terminal Market. A walk of pure boredom, followed by dodging traffic on Filbert. Certainly not a very inviting entrance to one of Center City's great destinations!|
|Filbert behind the Gallery. No fewer than three large parking garages, and a very low-slung bus terminal. Moving the bus terminal to a space off of the Gallery's service drive was an idea kicked around in the most recent Market East plan, filled with generally good ideas despite (or perhaps because of?) its being kludged together when Foxwoods-to-the-Gallery seemed imminent. If this is done, however, access to the bus bays from likely waiting areas becomes a major problem. On the plus side, it also opens up land the current depot sits on for development.|
* Stern's seems to have snapped the Gimbels lease right up.
** Had this happened, it is likely that the former Gimbels (whose retail space was curtailed to its bottom three floors, two of which were occupied by Clover and later Kmart, ca. 1990) would have either (a) been converted into a Men's or Furniture store (there are examples of both), or (b) lain vacant much as Strawbridge's has for the past five years.
*** This also makes Bon-Ton's shedding of its (historic) Carson's and Younker's downtown locations seem particularly short-sighted. Bon-Ton did develop a bad habit of vacating the downtown stores it acquired, starting(?) with Allentown's Hess's.
^ Which is partly why I helped found, and continue to maintain, the Concerned Citizens for Market East. The sign bill offered a useful instrument for reinvestment, and the policy line being held by SCRUB was definitely not going to do the job. Indeed, over the past two years they had made themselves look silly by protesting what was entirely reasonable large signage at 1234 Market and on the Thomas Lofts' party wall.