The King of Prussia mall, already the largest mall on the East Coast, announced plans Tuesday to expand once again. The behemoth will be building a 14,000 square foot corridor to connect the Court and Plaza sections of the mall. Currently you have to walk outside to get from one part to the other.
The additional structure will consist of high end retail stores and outposts of nationwide chain restaurants.
King of Prussia’s enviable location on the Main Line has enabled it to weather the recent recession storm and it has continued to increase profits.
David Contis, president of Simon Malls, which owns KOP, heralded the expansion decision saying, “…this is a uniquely wonderful market…we have such a diversity of tenants; we can weather the storm.” Despite the economic downturn, KOP still belongs to an elite level among malls across the country, boasting retail sales of $700 per square foot.
The project is expected to break ground after the current renovation of a large department store is finished in early 2012. The expansion has no completion date yet, but the hope is that it will be finished in conjunction with an economic uptick. The new wing will bring KOP’s total usable retail space to nearly 3 million square feet. If KOP wasn’t already an intimidating place to visit, it will surely be now.
As an experienced KOP visitor over the last six years, I can definitively say this new addition will be a blessing and a curse. Entering the mall is like walking into an alternate universe, where Auntie Anne’s and Urban Outfitters reign supreme. I can’t even imagine which retailers don’t already have a location within the current mall. The sheer size of KOP’s current dimensions causes crippling anxiety every time I approach the entrance off of Route 202.
That being said, walking from the Plaza to the Court and vice versa in the winter is a miserable experience. Being able to walk between the two in an enclosed, heated space will make any KOP journey much more pleasurable. And if all else fails, at least I will be able to get a hot pretzel every 12 feet.
Photos courtesy of Simon Malls and NBC Philadelphia