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PREIT Tips Hand (Slightly) Regarding Mall Plans

The Moorestown Mall owner is still keeping a tight lid on details. Meanwhile, East Gate proposes a new restaurant in place of Friendly's if it wins a license.

PREIT has kept a relatively tight lid on its plans for revitalizing the Moorestown Mall these last several months, but the township provided a brief glimpse behind the curtain Monday night.

Reading from a letter to the township from PREIT CEO Joe Coradino, Deputy Mayor Greg Gallo said PREIT is in negotiations with four restaurants. And though there was little else in the way of detail in the letter, Gallo said one of the establishments is expected to be an Italian establishment run by “a noted celebrity chef from the Philadelphia area.”

This would seem to be confirmation that PREIT is still actively pursuing a deal with world-renowned and Iron Chef/James Beard Award-winning chef Marc Vetri (of Vetri and Osteria in Philadelphia). , but has said nothing since.

Gallo went on to say the other restaurants are of a “mixed theme.” The letter contained no other specific information about the restaurants, and the deputy mayor and township manager Scott Carew said the township is not privy to any of PREIT’s negotiations.

“Although they feel confident that they’re moving along well with some of the negotiations, the last thing they want us to do is to talk about who they’re negotiating with so some other property owners in highway districts in other towns … can jump in and glom on their negotiations,” said Carew. “We’re all patiently waiting, but I feel confident there will be good news in a relatively short period of time.”

, along with East Gate Square, which submitted a proposal for one license at $1,030,000.

Township attorney Thomas Coleman explained PREIT’s proposals were for “pocket licenses,” meaning it can’t specify which restaurants the licenses are for or exactly where they’d go on the mall property since it's still in negotiations.

However, East Gate in its proposal specifically identified the as the possible future site of an “American-style bistro,” should the proposal be awarded, Coleman said.

After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, Friendly's closed a number of its franchises across the country. Though unrelated to the mass closure, the .

 and the outcome of the suit—expected sometime next month—will determine whether it has a claim to a license.

Coradino’s letter also revealed and indicated the company has executed a number of leases recently with new retail establishments at the Moorestown Mall.

“It’s huge,” Gallo said of PREIT’s plan for the mall and its effect on Moorestown. “If you think about not just the liquor licenses, but the domino effect. You now have other retailers considering Moorestown as a location … It helps the assessed value (of the mall). It’s bringing other employers into town. It creates a dynamism.”

Crossing guard July 10, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Well, that's "unFriendly" news. We hope east gate loses if that means no more Friendlys. Are you kiddin me? That location is always packed, and since the other closing on main st, now you guys are closing the other one? This is nuts!
Ben Spend July 10, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Are you kidding, other than passable ice cream Friendly's has the worst food I have eaten in years. (Thought it might be an ok breakfast with my grandson one day- awful awful awful)
Crossing guard July 10, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Yeah the ice cream! Where else can you Go get them 5 scoopers!!
Kim July 15, 2012 at 02:27 PM
It would be a shame to close that Friendly's. While the food isn't 5-star, kids love it, and that's what counts the most. There's a Friendly's in Cinnaminson, but it's located right in front of one of those awful motels, so I don't take my kids there. I really do hope they find an alternative spot :-(
Peanuts July 15, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Keep the friendlys there! If they win put it the strip shoppes of panera. Just because the chain is bankrupt, don't take advantage of that, the franchisee is doing a good job. We've been to birthday parties there too. Darn booze. Moorestown voters got screwed over thinking it will stay just at the mall.
AR July 15, 2012 at 03:55 PM
The chain has been out of bankruptcy for quite some time and performing well. My guess, it is not the Friendly's Franchisee there choosing to close; its more likely to be East Gate Square kicking them out to potentially profit boost over liqour sales. A landmark restaurant there and in business for over 11 years. It would be a shame if it went.

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