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PREIT President Joe Coradino Speaks

The president of the company that owns the Moorestown Mall talks about their chances of getting the liquor referendums to pass and why they're doing it this year.

Editor’s note: Talk of the Town is a new Moorestown Patch feature. Every Friday, local editor Rob Scott will interview someone from Moorestown—politicians, school administrators, volunteers, businesspeople—and ask them a series of questions pertaining to matters local and otherwise. If you have suggestions for potential interviewees, send them to rob.scott@patch.com. This week he sat down with PREIT (Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust) president Joe Coradino after Coradino .

Moorestown Patch: A lot of people are clamoring for some sort of public forum, where they can ask you questions directly or voice their concerns directly. Does PREIT have plans to hold a truly public meeting?
PREIT president Joe Coradino: We’re talking about that right now, and have not reached a conclusion.

Patch: There’s been a lot of vitriolic language regarding the whole issue of the referendums. There’s a lot of people who are very upset. Do you think that’s just a very vocal minority, or are you concerned that it’s more indicative of a larger resistance to your plan?
Coradino: The opposition’s passionate. And I think this is a close race, if you will. And I think education will solve the problem … Are you asking me whether we’ll ever win this 100 to 0? No. There clearly is a small core group of people who are very passionate about this who will never change their mind. Our hope is through education, and putting out correct information that deals with the misinformation, that we can turn around some of the less passionate opponents.

Patch: What do you say to people who argue adding restaurants won’t increase foot traffic to the stores?
Coradino: That flies in the face of that statistic that I showed you (that 70 percent of diners shop on a dinner trip) … You could give an anecdotal answer to that, and the anecdotal answer is, you’re not in a hurry when you go out to eat. You’re in less of a hurry. You drive there, you park your car, you walk inside … you sit down. That’s the very essence of it. Essentially, what it says is someone is making a specific trip to dine. The mall is generating that trip. When they come there, they’re not in a hurry. “Why don’t I pick up while I’m here, Susie needs a …” That’s the anecdotal answer.

Patch: What if the referendums don’t pass? You said you’ll still go forward with the theater?
Coradino: Maybe. That’s my vote. I got a board to answer to. That theater’s going to be a significant investment on our part. That’s my vote.

Patch: A number of people have asked why PREIT couldn’t have waited another year to introduce the referendums, when the five-year window on the previous referendum expires, to pursue this. Why didn’t you?
Coradino: Time is of the essence, with respect to turning around Moorestown Mall. Another year means more vacancy. You don’t want the downward spiral to go too far, cause then it becomes difficult to reverse. So when we found out there was an opportunity this year, we jumped on it.

Patch: What would you say to someone who’s concerned passing a referendum that will allow the sale of alcohol in Moorestown, whether it’s contained at the mall or not, will ruin the “character” of the town?
Coradino: I look at other examples. Cherry Hill (Mall) hasn’t changed Haddonfield, hasn’t changed Collingswood. Plymouth Meeting Mall hasn’t changed Chestnut Hill … It hasn’t changed them. Keep in mind, $13 million leaving Moorestown spent elsewhere.

Elizabeth September 23, 2011 at 02:13 PM
Rob, I wish you had followed up your question about the public meeting, with a question about what the downside for PREITT would be. He says they are talking about it and as of yet, no decision has been made. And then he says education is going to help us make up our minds. HOW will we get educated if he doesn't hold a public forum?
Tom September 23, 2011 at 04:55 PM
The best thing is other town organizations will have their own forums then. PREIT seems to be all for themselves not for Moorestown. It's too obvious "they" have their own controlled agenda and don't want to involve the citizens/voters. And then, preit has say at a small meeting this week woth a handful of businesspeople to tease them/us that they will announce what drinking establishments may come the mall. Sounds like a campaign strategy? Let's drop the big news right before the election? This liquor license news is getting stale and not appealing to most people ESP with the way it's been going. We like the mall, rebuild the theater, more stores, byob row? We've had enough, were are voting "NO" on all liquor questions on November 8th.
Dudley Foramen September 23, 2011 at 09:00 PM
The issue is not that PRIET people are "evil." They are business people. They want what produces the most profitable results for them, and will do anything they can, within the constraints of the law to achieve that. While they may mean no harm, neither are they are looking out for the good of Moorestown, nor seeking to make Moorestown a better place to live, nor reducing property taxes, nor creating jobs for Moorestown residents. If any of those things happen, it is coincidental to their objectives. PRIET spent too much money buying and rehabing the Mall and is attempting to recover their investment. Voters in Moorestown should try to assess whether or not there is a lasting benefit for us, or just for PRIET. In all likelihood, the liquor licenses will not help Moorestown, in the long run. The $4 million will disappear quickly, followed by increased police costs caused by primarily non-Moorestonians drinking, driving, and acting out after their "fine dining" experience at the Mall. Moreover, we have learned through the recent misuse of of Open Space tax money by Council and the Mayor that they are not to be trusted when they make promises, such as the one related to permanently restricting liquor licenses to the Mall, and keeping them out of town. Finally, for those who say that being dry is keeping Moorestown from having "fine dining establishments", I would point to Collingswood, also dry, with some of the best restaurants in SJ. Just vote NO.
Jeff Rosen September 23, 2011 at 09:01 PM
Funny how money buys access - to Patch, to Moorestown Town Council, to Moorestown Sun............... Why isn't Patch interviewing "the opposition" to PREIT.... I think Rob needs to provide the same forum to "the PREIT OPPOSITION" now.... equal time.... equal play. You see entire pages of ads """BOUGHT" with MONEY $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Town Lawyer being bought with PREIT MONEY $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ The MONEY GAMES..... that is what this is all about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ Now What about THOSE MOORESTOWN VALUES ---------------??????????? Why isn't MR. PREIT President Joe Coradino Speaking speaking to the 200 year values in MOORESTOWN??????????????????????????????????????????? How about PATCH doing an article about Moorestown VALUES??????????????
Rob Scott (Editor) September 23, 2011 at 09:19 PM
Jeff, I have provided as much coverage to the opposition as I have to those on the pro-referendum side. I reported on the several residents who criticized town council when they adopted resolutions permitting the referendums. I ran a letter to the editor written by Stanley Ralph and a column written by Marsia Mason, both of which were critical of PREIT and the township. And I'm currently working on a story (to go up in the next couple hours) about a citizen who filed suit against the township to block the referendums from going on the ballot. Money does not buy access to Patch. Mr. Coradino was at a meeting I was able to attend and I saw an opportunity to interview someone whose actions could have a significant impact (for better or worse, depending on your point of view) on the long-term future of Moorestown. Plain and simple.
jean September 24, 2011 at 03:14 PM
1) Increase in foot traffic- I can definitely see that occurring as a result of a modernized multi-screen movie theater. Shopping before or after a movie makes sense. Going to a "fine dining" restaurant before or after a movie or mall shopping does not make sense. Mr. Coradino's anecdotal "why don't I pick it up for Susie while I'm here" shows either that he does not shop for Susie or know anyone who does. Who is going to get nicely dressed and coifed for a "fine dining" experience and go pick up some running shoes for Susie? Who wants to look at lawnmowers after a "fine dining" experience? 2) Interesting that "the Board" has authorized Mr. Coradino to voluntarily gift the town with $4 million (the "pledge" to pay $4 million above and beyond the market price of the liquor licenses) yet Mr. Coradino does not know if "the Board" will approve a much needed and commercially sound investment in a movie theatre unless Mr. Coradino gets his liquor licenses.
jean September 24, 2011 at 03:32 PM
D. Foramen, there will be no lasting benefit to Moorestown. There is also not going to be any $4 million for Moorestown. That $4 million figure is an unenforceable "pledge" to pay $4 million above the market value of the liquor licenses. It is a tantalizing figure for PR purposes. No business is going to gift the town $4 million. As you point out, PREIT is in business to make profit for its shareholders. A gift of $4 million (and it would be a gift - there is no legally enforceable obligation) is not a tax deductible business expense.
jean September 24, 2011 at 03:43 PM
Mr. Scott, all your articles do is repeat PREIT PR propaganda. You never ask any enlightening questions or questions designed to get to the bottom of the PR. You don't even disclose the real nature of the so-called "grassroots" organization.
In the Cheap Seats September 24, 2011 at 06:00 PM
Has the mall signed a binding document with the town regarding the extent of the addition, price of licenses and so on? I seem to remember that last time, in 2007, EDAC Chairman Jake DerHogopian, said licenses were worth 1.5 M each. Has something changed?
Boycott Moorestown Mall October 22, 2011 at 03:43 PM
Boycott THe Moorestown Mall to sustain our good values and our good town. Boycott Booze in Moorestown. Boycott Joe Coradino from perveting Moorestown. Boycott Jake DerHogopian from profiting by selling his bozze in Moorestown. Moorestown is not for sale. We don't want your crime. We don't want your traffic. We don't want drunken drivers on our streets. We are not for sale.
Lucy October 22, 2011 at 04:20 PM
Yeah...everyone please read the post above by BMM, then vote YES ( if for no other reason than you DO NOT wish to be associated with a loony!)
In the Middle October 23, 2011 at 02:16 PM
Vote Yes--There is a viable plan to increase ratables and revenue for our town. The mall is in need of redevelopment and the statistical data which is used by mall owners all over the US indicates what businesses will survive. The mall's anchor stores support the plan becasuse based on their other locations they have the expertise to see what works. Look at the Promenade--when a large store vaccated recently--what replaced it - a full service restaurant. For those residents hit hard with tax bills--Moorestown Hunt, Laurel Creek, Pheasant Fields, Northwest Estates--look at your tax bill...isn't time to reverse the trend of not encouraging commerce. The opposition would have businesses go to other towns--l for example ook at Mt Laurel's park and field system and look at Moorestown. Revenue is needed. Vote Yes


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