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