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PREIT Signs Agreement with World-Renowned Chef

Acclaimed Philly chef Marc Vetri has signed a letter of interest with PREIT to open a restaurant at the mall if the referendums pass.

World-renowned chef Marc Vetri has signed a “letter of interest” with Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) to open a fine dining restaurant at Moorestown Mall should referendums approving liquor licenses pass next month.

Vetri, a James Beard Award and Iron Chef winner, already owns and operates three acclaimed high-end, Italian-style restaurants in Philadelphia. His flagship, Vetri, was named one of the 50 best restaurants in the country by Gourmet Magazine in 2006 and received the Philadelphia Inquirer's highest restaurant rating, along with a host of other accolades.

PREIT president Joe Coradino made the announcement Thursday, calling it “not just a home run; it’s a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth to win the World Series.”

“If you had your fantasy conclusion to what you want to put at Moorestown Mall, this is a game-changer,” Coradino said.

Coradino has tried to stamp out speculation that the type of restaurants PREIT would look to bring to the Moorestown Mall, if the referendums pass, would be chains of the Applebee’s and Ruby Tuesday’s variety. He’s said the caliber of restaurants he has in mind would be “at a higher level” than even those at the Cherry Hill Mall. Thursday’s announcement of an agreement with Vetri seems to back up that claim.

PREIT plans to announce over the next few weeks the other three restaurants it hopes to open. Coradino—and by extension PREIT— for four liquor licenses at the mall upon passage of the referendums, and would presumably sell those licenses to the restaurants for the same price.

All the agreements with those restaurants will likely take the form of letters of interest, said Chris Russell, spokesman for Property Tax Relief for Moorestown, since PREIT can’t get them to commit until or if the referendums pass.

A letter of interest is non-binding, he said, and represents a “formal expression of interest in pursuing a deal.”

Coradino put it in plainer terms when asked what the letter means: “I think it means if we get a ‘yes’ on the liquor referendums, we’ll get Vetri. I think it’s as simple as that.”

In a release put out by Russell, Vetri states, “Moorestown will provide us with our first opportunity to bring a member of the Vetri Family of restaurants to a sophisticated, suburban audience, many of whom are already guests in our Philadelphia locations … We are hopeful that the referendums pass and look forward to a wonderful partnership with both PREIT and the people of Moorestown.”

Coradino believes the addition of a Vetri restaurant to Moorestown Mall will attract customers from across the area, not just the township, who will no longer have to venture into the city to experience the kind of high-end, epicurean dining his establishments offer.

“Think of it this way: All of the people who drive to Philadelphia and battle parking, and have to walk from parking to his restaurants, now can park in front of his restaurant,” Coradino said, “and experience the food in a much more convenient fashion.”

Resident William Cox—whose lawsuit against the township and the county clerk pursuant to the referendums —said PREIT’s announcement is “a calculated strategy to parcel out the information … They understand it’s better to parcel out this information than put it out there all at once.”

But he’s not so sure the announcements are having an impact.

After speaking with a number of people at the festival this past weekend, Cox said, “I think most people have made up their minds already.”

Judge Ronald Bookbinder will hear Cox’s case at 2 p.m. Friday at the courthouse in Mount Holly. Follow Moorestown Patch tomorrow afternoon for the outcome.

In the Middle October 14, 2011 at 04:54 PM
Vote Yes
Bryan Reddan October 14, 2011 at 05:04 PM
Riiiiiight, because I'm certain a restaurant like Vetri would change it's business model and come to Moorestown, instead of opening in say, Mount Laurel under it's existing model. I'm sure some other town would openly welcome the revenue and consumer traffic associated with the restaurants we could potentially have here in Moorestown - and then they would laugh at us even more than they already are... You're making my head hurt.
BYOB Mall fan October 14, 2011 at 05:05 PM
No offense to the wow announcement, but really sounded like a byob type of eatery, not "wowed" most will say "who and what?" was just announced as the big restaurant? Oh, just contingent to the booze? That's just it, the big sales is the booze? Not the great food by some chef ? Let's get fine watering holes then? It's the bars that you want, not the fine chef dining? If it is let's do the byob row. Vote No
Bailey October 14, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Not until I saw the (Philly) FooBooz post this morning was I remotely interested in this issue in town. Now that Marc Vetri is involved, I'd be crazy to vote anything but 'yes'. The fact that he's remotely interested in our suburb as his first non-city venture has made my day/week/month. Marc Vetri is a legend in the culinary world. He's a genius. If you can get a reservation at Vetri, don't take my word for it.
BYOB Mall fan October 14, 2011 at 05:43 PM
So if jeans right that this very is opening fine dining pizza places, like Moorestown, what is reason for liquor licenses? Are they going to pay an unreasonable $1M for a liquor license for quality pizza locale? Is this a screen for the chains? What about that pizzicato and al dente? Place that, a bonefish and applebees and you have your new theatre? Huh? And next we are going to bulldoze those beautiful berms in front of the mall because it will hide te visual? This is getting out of hand this liquor license idea
In the Middle October 14, 2011 at 05:51 PM
Vote Yes! How terrific that the there is well devised plan that will enhance entertaiment and dining options in Moorestown and all of South Jersey. it presents a win win for the residents of Moorestown as well as our neighbors. Imagine the press that follows an opening of a restuarantuer of the calibar of Mr. Vetri. Now there is good news
In the Middle October 14, 2011 at 05:54 PM
Vote Yes. Obviously, Mr BYOB has no experience with full service resturants or retail development. So back to drinking on Main Street out of a brown paper bag--so a well respected developer and business owner should adapt to your faux puritanical ways ? No. Move forward--it is a no brainer!!!
In the Middle October 14, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Yes most who live under a rock or do not read the papers might not know the name Marc Vetri ( my guess is those people do not leave their houses or shop or dine so what would anything matter to them)....Even your girl Pat reads the Inquirer..so who exaclty are you referring to? Oh I get it , just another mediocre attempt to downplay something great. It might be safer for your gang to stay under the rock with your stock of brown bags filled with alcohol- Leave the living to those are active in the community and look forward to having new businesses
Bryan Reddan October 14, 2011 at 06:37 PM
"Mr. BYOB Mall Fan, what you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."
Chris Welch October 14, 2011 at 06:54 PM
BYOB - How many drinks have you had today ?
BYOB Mall fan October 14, 2011 at 07:06 PM
I heard an appeal?
Lucy October 14, 2011 at 07:24 PM
Is it true that the judge ruled already and that it's a go for these two questions to be on the ballot??? Just heard the news on Main Street.
In the Middle October 14, 2011 at 07:33 PM
Vote Yes...All roads lead to Mooretown winning.
In the Middle October 14, 2011 at 07:36 PM
Did you hear something drop? That would be the opposition after they learned that the lawsuit is without merit--which is the same as their propsed arguments
BYOB Mall fan October 14, 2011 at 07:39 PM
To buddies , I heard it ain't over. I understand there will be an appeal. I believe this judgment was deemed to go against the plaintiff. But we all will see what happens next. Best bet... VOTE NO fr both Liquor questions Nov 8th
BYOB Mall fan October 14, 2011 at 07:58 PM
Jogging
Booze patrol October 14, 2011 at 09:42 PM
Well I think if people will asked who is marc vetri is or his restaurants most would say who? And what restaurants? That's getting real. Did those "not involved" have to google him / restaurant to find that info out and then say "oh wow?" or ok? What are the next pieces to this game? Keep us at the edge of our seats,. Clearly this is pure "campaign style"strategy . Feed them with a little info at a time , to think there is some "wow " factor. Remember there are no candidates involved here. The in "wowed" factor is losing it's touch with some people already.
Ann Bridges October 14, 2011 at 10:20 PM
I am voting NO, No, No. to booze in Moorestown. Shun the NON-Believers. Keep Moorestown Values. So NO to money influence and the bad morals of Town Council.
Lucy October 14, 2011 at 10:27 PM
And I've decided to vote YES, YES, YES! It's just common sense that this has NOTHING to do with Moorestown Values. The Mall is our biggest taxpayer and their decline/demise is our decline/demise. Their 2.2 Million dollars annually in taxes is for OUR kids benefit. We NEED them to succeed and they NEED OUR HELP to do it. This is no time to turn our brains off...think about this and vote YES!!!
Booze patrol October 14, 2011 at 10:45 PM
Wow Lucy some of you are being snowed over from these mall reps (unless you are one). Remember, look out for moorestown first not some of this corporate greed and outsiders make your mind up. Remember "Moorestown First" , I like that.
Lucy October 14, 2011 at 11:06 PM
To Booze Patrol- I am NOT a Mall Rep. I am a long-time Moorestonian, educated and well read. I was on the fence, but after so much research that I can't even BEGIN to cover here, I have decided to vote YES on this issue. What is it about 2.2 MILLION DOLLARS paid toward our school budget annually that you don't or can't understand. Please address this point, because it's a major factor in my decision. And that's just what PREIT pays annually to our schools. How about what they pay towards our trash collection, snow removal, police protection and township needs? Our success as a town STARTS with the success of our biggest taxpayer. We, as residents CANNOT afford to make up the difference in this tax burden. If they fail, WE PAY. Please address this point as well. Thank you.
Politically Incorrect in Moorestown October 15, 2011 at 12:38 AM
Mall Fan, your plan is a little late, not to mention pathetically weak. What don't you understand about the mall not being attractive as it is now? There will be no BYO row...because there will be no mall. Congratulations on killing the mall with your flawed thinking - enjoy driving by the abandoned slab of concrete in the future. Vote YES because it's the BEST THING FOR MOORESTOWN!
Politically Incorrect in Moorestown October 15, 2011 at 12:42 AM
Lucy, well said and a direct bullseye on the main point - $2.2 Million dollars paid towards are school budget. This isn't about booze in town, this is about making sure we have the tax revenues to support our schools to keep them operating at the high levels our children need. I personally cannot afford to make up the void that the Moorestown Mall contributes to our tax revenue...can you Mall Fan, Jean or the rest of your short-sighted buddies?
In the Middle October 15, 2011 at 12:47 AM
Vote yes for Moorestown. Think about the Moorestown residents employed at the mall. Think of the employment opportunites for our town residents. Think of the addittional tax revenue. Think of the possibilites of bringing new businesses to our town. Think about keeping Moorestown financially viable and able to provide the services that it struggles to keep now--no police station-no courtroom--our library has about 8 inches of standing water at all times..does that sound like Mooretown does not encourage new businesses?
Joe Smith October 17, 2011 at 01:11 AM
So far no one from the "No" crowd has provided a concise and factually accurate reason for voting no. Just the threat of drugs, teen drinking and violent behavior. You would think those scenarios would already exist with many bars already closer to the center of town than the mall.
KJL October 17, 2011 at 11:15 AM
BYOB Mall Fan - I notice that our exchanges have been deleted. Something to hide?
Mara Jacobs October 21, 2011 at 11:11 AM
OMG, Ms. White! I can't stand these comments! If you don't want to spend $400 at a dinner, then why are you so willing to burden even more in taxes as Moorestown goes down in flames with our biggest ratable! Really...are you so shallow that you are not able to allow change....and change for the better??!!! And you are happy to live in town with "I Wonder" who is more than happy to forfeit his home to the bank and turn Moorestown into a run down town with boarded up homes? This is about developing parity in our business corridor so we can compete with the surrounding commercial centers and attract RATABLES! I am casting YES TO BOTH and proud to know I am one of the many who will be instrumental in fostering economic development and health in Moorestown!!
Mara Jacobs October 21, 2011 at 11:18 AM
Enough is enough...please turn the channel to YES!! I am voting YES! YES to ratables in MOORESTOWN, not Cherry HIll or Mt. Laurel! YES to allowing Moorestown Residents to frequent their own restaurants rather than drive somewhere else! YES to the Believers and pray for the non-believers! YES to the FUTURE of Moorestown! YES to the people who what to see Moorestown thrive and no to the people who have nothing better to do than "rain on everyone else's parade!"
Mara Jacobs October 21, 2011 at 11:21 AM
Jogging over to the neighboring towns for a drink?
Mara Jacobs October 21, 2011 at 11:22 AM
Ann or "cry"Baby...change your rhetoric before you print it again!

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