Town hall meeting scheduled by Plymouth Township to discuss future of the Plymouth Meeting Mall property

Plymouth Township has scheduled a town hall meeting to discuss the future of the Plymouth Meeting Mall property for Wednesday, October 25th at 7:00 p.m. at the Greater Plymouth Community Center.

The meeting is likely to focus on apartments, as there are currently two efforts to bring apartments to the property. Keystone Development + Investment is seeking to convert the office building adjacent to the mall into 150 apartments. Plymouth Township’s council amended the township’s zoning code for the shopping center zoning district to permit the conversion of an existing building with up to 150 apartments as a conditional use. The township’s council is now in a series of hearings to determine whether to grant that conditional use.

PREIT, which owns the majority of the mall property, is also seeking to develop an apartment community in the spot that is currently home to the long vacant IKEA headquarters (near the movie theater). PREIT seeks to demolish the vacant building, not convert it, thus it does not fall within the same process as the apartments proposed by Keystone.

Since PREIT seeks to construct a new building consisting of 300 units, it is seeking a special exception from the township’s zoning hearing board. The hearings are also underway and the next one is scheduled for October 16th.

PREIT went through the exact same process for a 502 unit apartment building previously and was denied. PREIT appealed the denial and that issue is currently working it way through the court system.

PREIT has also moved away from trying to fill the mall with retail shops. It currently has just over 300,000 square feet of space within the interior of the mall being offered as The Interchange at Plymouth Meeting. The Interchange is being marketed as office and medical space. You can view more details here.

PREIT is also in a precarious financial situation. It has and is seeking to sell off the outer portions of its mall properties for redevelopment as apartments to bring to bring in cash to pay down debt. You can read more about that here.

Other items it is important to note when discussing the mall:

  • A company in Florida, Bayview Associates & S Sandelman Trust, owns the area of the mall building that was the Macy’s and now has a handful of tenants such as Dick’s, Miller’s Ale House, and Edge Fitness. This 214,790 portion is for sale (view the listing).
  • The Whole Foods Market property is 6.08 acres and was sold by PREIT in early 2023 to AGREE SHELF PA, LLC (which is in Michigan)
  • The new Chipotle restaurant and the small office building are owned by different entities

The mall property is more than just PREIT. If you want to improve the entrances and exits and the flow of traffic, multiple property owners may have to agree.

There is also the issue of infrastructure and whether the sewer line and roadways can handle the impact of the different types of proposed uses. In the hearings that we have attended and/or watched, these are the big concerns from the township and members of the zoning board.