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Year in Review: Biggest Business Stories of 2013

Our look at the year's most buzzed-about business stories includes 'history'-making news at the Moorestown Mall and a touch of Paris heading to Main Street.

Burris Construction CEO William Burris unveiled in October his plans to convert the empty Friendly's on Main Street into a French bistro. Credit: Rob Scott
Burris Construction CEO William Burris unveiled in October his plans to convert the empty Friendly's on Main Street into a French bistro. Credit: Rob Scott

2013 was, by many accounts, an unprecedented year—on the business/economic development front—for Moorestown.

From major development at the Moorestown Mall, to potential redevelopment in Lenola, there were plenty of big business stories. Let’s recap the biggest:

A Mall Renaissance

There were too way many big stories revolving around mall development to pick just one, so we're going to lump them all together. The opening of the new Regal theater, Jose Garces' big announcement and the addition of one of South Jersey's most popular salons were among the more notable mall news items in 2013. But none perhaps were bigger than the opening of Marc Vetri's Osteria at the mall. The Italian eatery is the first to bear the Vetri name outside of Philly, the first new restaurant at the mall—followed closely by Firebirds Wood Fired Grill—and, most significantly, the first establishment to serve alcohol in Moorestown in a century. PREIT CEO Joe Coradino may have had it right when he called the developments at the mall "history in the making."

Bon Appetit on Main Street

Some may have worried that—compared to all the activity at the mall—downtown Moorestown was being left out. Burris Construction CEO Bill Burris dispelled some of those fears with his announcement in October that he was purchasing the former Friendly's and turning it into a French bistro. Burris, who also owns a successful restaurant in Beach Haven, said he envisions a "Parisian sidewalk cafe," ETA late spring 2014.

Lockheed Layoffs

It wasn't all good news this year. Lockheed Martin laid off hundreds of workers at its Borton Landing Road facility—first in August, then again in November. On the plus side, Lockheed Martin Moorestown was awarded a huge government contract earlier this year to continue developing the Aegis Combat System Engineering Agent (CSEA), the Navy’s primary system for detecting and intercepting threats to surface ships.

Good News for Moorestown’s ‘West End’

To some—including those who live there—Lenola is the “forgotten” section of Moorestown. However, developers presented plans this fall for redeveloping the long-vacant Lenola Auto Mall site into a mixed-use high-end residential/retail space. Some residents were excited by the plans, others less so. But many were encouraged at the possibility of economic development in an area sorely in need of it.

Economic Health and Wellness at New Virtua Facility

There’s been so much development in Moorestown in the past year, you might have forgotten about this one. But Virtua’s new health and wellness center on Young Avenue is/was one of the biggest business success stories of 2013. The $96 million facility—which offers an array of outpatient services, including a fully stocked fitness center, spa, urgent care and primary care, physical therapy, cardiology, etc.—is expected to be an “economic boon to the community,” according to Virtua CEO Richard Miller.

What do you think were the biggest business stories of the year? Think we missed one? Tell us in the comments below.

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