Echelon Mall: Not in the Upper Echelon; Voorhees, New Jersey

Echelon Mall Sign/Pylon

When malls first became big, one of their major selling points was that they offered shopping in a “climate-controlled” environment. Strangely, as they now pass out of favor, we’re confused by how often they’re replaced by centers that do the exact opposite, turning the common areas back to the elements and (often quite literally) ripping the roof right off the building. I guess it’s all that “new authenticity” we keep hearing about, but I’ll take the air conditioning, thanks.

While this makes sense in nicer climates, I’ve never really understood why developers want to try this in places like the Northeast. While we have our nice days, we have plenty of a) snow b) cold c) rain or d) humidity that, on most days when I want to be shopping, it’s probably due in part to the fact that one of the above describes the weather. I mean, geez, just look at the clouds in the above picture! Who wants to strut around in capri pants, swinging a Chico’s bag in that? Still, when done right, I much prefer these lifestyle centers to big box centers because they at least attempt to create dense, pedestrian-friendly development that fosters a sense of community, albeit a somewhat sterile, pre-fabricated community. Whether or not they become the band-aid-du-jour (much like neon accent lighting in the Saved By the Bell era) for retail centers of the mid-auts remains to be seen.
Needless to say, the somewhat unfortunately-named Echelon Mall, which sits buried deep in the Jersey-side suburbs of Philadelphia, is slated to be one of the next malls in the northeast to have its skin peeled back to expose it to the elements. The plan is actually to keep about half of this large, flagging mall–everything in the two level space between Boscov’s and the Strawbridge’s (now Macy’s) featured in these pictures–while tearing down the long wing at the other end of the building that extends to defunct Sears and JCPenney spaces. That area will be replaced by an outdoor, Main Street-styled promenade with shops, restaurants, and housing. Could be cool, I suppose, especially since they’re (somewhat improbably) saving about half of the mall. Here’s what they’re going to do to it (Note the presence of half of the existing mall, towards the far side of this view):

Plan for Voorhees Town Center, to replace Echelon Mall in Voorhees, NJ
I visited Echelon Mall in October of 2005, and could definitely note some signs of a struggle. While it may be a stretch to call it a dead mall, Echelon seems to be losing its battle against larger nearby competitors like the Cherry Hill, Deptford, and Moorestown Malls. For one, the location is horrendous. It’s located miles off of major highways, tucked away on Somerdale Road, near the intersection of Camden County highways 673 and 561. Despite being the second largest mall in the Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia–trailing only the gargantuan, impressive Cherry Hill–it is suffering from a swath of vacancies. This large, two level mall appears to have been built at two drastically different times. The southwestern, more successful end of the mall (between Boscov’s and Strawbridge’s) sports a distinctly 70s/early 80s decor with that era’s ubiquitous track-lightbulb fixtures. While that end is is reasonably well-tenanted, the long, northeastern end of the mall (which is full of filtered sunlight thanks to a skylight, and has palms and other flora that date this expansion to the later 80s to mid 90s) is a veritable ghost town, with very few tenants and almost no foot traffic. Despite being the newer and nicer end of the mall, it’s little wonder the plans call for it to be demolished. Per usual (and I’m already tired of saying it, but…) Dead Malls has some good historic info up.

The Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) Website includes some cool information, including a site plan that gives a good idea of the layout, but doesn’t mention much about the planned redevelopment. We also found a cool picture of the mall at sunset, and this neat painting of the mall’s escalators by artist William Mammarella, who must share our appreciation of the artistry inherent in such spaces. Lastly, SaveVoorhees.org includes a huge cache of articles about the mall’s redevelopment plans.

Echelon Mall in Voorhees, NJ Echelon Mall Food Court in Voorhees, NJ Echelon Mall Boscov's in Voorhees, NJ

Echelon Mall in Voorhees, NJ Echelon Mall in Voorhees, NJ Newer wing of Echelon Mall in Voorhees, NJ

Strawbridge's Entrance at Echelon Mall in Voorhees, NJ Exterior shot of Strawbridge's at Echelon Mall in Voorhees, NJ

103 Responses to “Echelon Mall: Not in the Upper Echelon; Voorhees, New Jersey”

  1. I can say one thing judging from that picture of that proposal they’re going to have a hard time plowing if it ever snows heavily in that area.

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  2. Having lived in southern NJ for part of my childhood, I shopped with my family at Echelon Mall. From what I remember of my own experience and from reading, I believe the Echelon Mall was built by the Rouse Co. and opened in 1970 on an old airfield named Echelon. The original anchors were JCPenney, Strawbridge & Clothier, and Lit Brothers (a Philadelphia-based chain). Lit Brothers closed around 1977 and was replaced by Gimbels, which later closed in 1986 and became Stern’s, which then became Boscov’s in the early 1990s (I think).

    Strawbridge & Clothier remained and was purchased with the rest of the chain by May Company in 1996 and, like most other S&C stores, retained its S&C signage even after May shortened the name to Strawbridge’s. It’s now Macy’s.

    The mall was highly successful and busy for many years. I remember when the food court was added in the mid-80s near the center of the mall and adjacent to the movie theater, which is now closed as well.

    Even into the late 1990s, the mall was still successful to the point that Sears built a brand new anchor store very near JCPenney in 1999. It abruptly pulled out in 2002, leaving an empty new store. JCPenney left as well in 2003, and the mall has spiraled downward ever since.

    Knowing how busy it used to be (and still was when I visited it occasionally in the 90s), it’s strange to see it half empty now. If you go inside Boscov’s or Macy’s today, however, there are quite a few shoppers, and you’d never guess the mall is as empty as it is.

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  3. I can remember going to this mall in the early eighties, I remember it being really huge and I also recall one thing about it that I never forgot… This mall had a new car dealership in it! Something I had never seen before or after that, Hard to imagine such a huge and busy place is virtually empty…but then again I find it hard to believe that a lot of malls are starting to look this way… *sigh*

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  4. One reason it struggled, besides Sears being a crappy additional anchor, was that a lot of retail shifted to Marlton (Route 73).

    Note: if you own a mall and want to expand with a new anchor, don’t add Sears!

    Sears is now owned by Kmart, who hasn’t opened a new store in what, 4 years or so…. Two weak companies and you still have a weak company. No growth company.

    Back on Marlton – it became the hot spot, with the Promenade at Sagemore an outdoor upscale lifestyle center, Marlton Square and Marlton Crossing.

    Add this to the fact that between Cherry Hill-Moorestown-Marlton-Mt.Laurel-Voorhees, there are a lot of malls or now big shopping centers.

    On the other side of the Voorhees area south, are towns like Blackwood and Clementon. When Deptford Mall expanded and got a makeover, it surpassed Echelon as the place to be for people in those towns.

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  5. Does anybody know which supermarket chain will be the grocery store the Voorhees Town Center?

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  6. Any updates on the renovation of Voorhees Town Center?

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  7. The enclosed part in front of Macy’s outward to where JCPenney and Sears used to be, along with JCPenney and Sears, and Firestone are torned down and gone.

    However, I think the vacant movie theater in front of the foodcourt hasn’t been torned down yet.

    I know they are putting new flooring in the mall and replacing an escalator.

    Haven’t been there though in the last 2 weeks or so.

    Rather than putting up a grocery store, why not a Borders or Barnes & Noble? As far as grocery stores, ACME and Genuardi’s are already in Voorhees, and ShopRite is taking over the Evesham Rd. Stop&Shop which was on the border of Cherry Hill and Voorhees. Whole Foods and Trader Joes are in Marlton, which is too close.

    So it only leaves Superfresh as a viable grocery store, and Superfresh is ok, but I think the property would be better with some destinational retail (where people from more than 1 mile away will have interest in) like a Borders or B&N, and some mix of big box chains (maybe Bed Bath & Beyond, Stein Mart or Filenes Basement, etc.)

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  8. Those light fixtures near the entrance in the first small picture are amazing. What are they, exactly?

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  9. Very similar to the light fixtures at near the entrances at White Marsh Mall in MD and throughout Quincy Marketplace/Faneuil Hall, Boston. Not surprising since all three properties were developed by The Rouse Company (now General Growth Properties).

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  10. Josh: Sears is not owned by Kmart. It happened that a private investor had both Sears, Roebuck, and Co. and Kmart Inc. and merged them as Sears Holdings Corp. Or as Wikipedia puts it “It is mistakenly believed that Sears as a whole was purchased by Kmart; however, this is not true, as after Kmart Stores completed the purchase of Sears Stores, Sears Holdings Corporation purchased Kmart Holdings Corporation. The new corporation announced that it would continue to operate stores under both the Sears and Kmart brands.”

    Besides, adding Sears as an anchor was mostly el stinko after they changed the logo.

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  11. Anyone remember the restaurant there in the 70’s that had belly-dancing..? I seem to remember “Continental” in them name.

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    Maureen McLoone Reply:

    @lordsomber,

    I am visiting my sister in Michigan. We were talking about the restaurant she wowrked in at the Echelon Mall. We thought it might be the Continental but not sure. Did you have cinfirm your answer?

    Thank you.

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    Sam Reply:

    @lordsomber, I remember eating there with my parents as a kid in maybe ’77 or ’78

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  12. I still can’t get over the partial demise of this mall. I use to go to this mall so much when I was little back in the early 90’s. I didn’t go as often in the next few years mainly because the Moorestown mall was only a 15 minute drive from my house and was more convenient; I still went back to echelon periodically thereafter and it was still doing fine even after Sears closed down, something that I was not aware of right away. Even when the Promenade opened in my home town of Marlton around 2001-2002 it was still doing great. Then I learned that JC was closing and that signaled the end for me. I went back there soon after it had closed (around 2003) to find the mall drasticlly more vacant than I had ever seen it. That was the end for me. I knew what was to blame! I will never understand how an open air upscale center, too expensive for the average consumer wound up causing the demise of what was once the best mall in that part of NJ. I know that is the trend know but I think it is a bunch of crap!!! RIP Echelon mall 1970-2003, you will never be forgotten!

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  13. Echelon Mall had a few problems, some similar to other dying/dead malls around:

    1) Poor choice of anchors: At its greatest, there were 4. Sears was also in Moorestown and Burlington, Boscov’s was also in Moorestown, Strawbridge’s in Cherry Hill, Moorestown, Burlington and Deptford and JCPenney in Cherry Hill and Burlington (and eventually Deptford). Basically, Echelon did not have a unique anchor which meant people that live closer to Philly would not drive over here knowing they could simply do all their shopping on route 38 and those who lived down 42/55 could easily go to Deptford. When the anchors closed, it gave people even less incentive to go there.

    2) Location: Echelon Mall has a horrible location…not on a highway and not too close to a highway…most of the malls in South Jersey are either directly on a highway or have near immediate visibility from an interstate/controlled access highway (Deptford by 42 and 55, Moorestown by 295, Burlington is between NJT exit 5 and 295). It was kind of challenging for people to find

    3) Lack of traffic leads to lack of stores: Once the stores in the mall began to lose traffic, they pulled out.

    4) Inability of owners to update/market mall. It is as much the responsiblity of the owners to remerchandise or renovate to keep the retail space fresh. This was not done with Echelon (or with Burlington Center for that matter) and it helped contribute to its demise.

    The new plans for Voorhees Town Center seem ambitious and we’ll eventually see what happens.

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  14. I think they should have just shut it down and tore it down….hey man i work there, it sucks and now this town center they are building are for the old people….and there are already to many crazy old people there that bug the crap out of me. im still in high school (senior year) and i need a close job so the Emall is for me but i cant stand the old poeple….that mall will never be the same, i think the peek year was when they tore the airport apart and the first year of the mall was the best

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  15. I went to the Echelon Mall for the first time this weekend…there is a cool “time capsule” display on the 2nd floor with artifacts from the mall’s history. Also, the chandelier over the escalators in the Macy’s was really impressive. I was surprised to find mostly chain stores still in the mall and a relative lack of mom-and-pop shops.

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  16. Jonah,

    Wikipedia’s page says:
    “On November 17, 2004, Kmart announced its intention to purchase Sears, Roebuck and Company. ”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kmart

    Kmart/Sears “Sears Holding” hasn’t done any new construction since merger and is operating some very blah low business stores across the country. While Sears is strong for hardlines and automotive, they are lackluster in other departments, and their weaknesses have been the same since atleast 2000.

    mallguy,

    While Echelon’s location isn’t the best, it isn’t as bleak as you portray it.

    You left out one thing working in favor of Echelon and Voorhees.

    It’s that Voorhees and east Cherry Hill are among the two most affluent areas in the Southern NJ area. It’s why Macy’s is committed to the mall, and why PREIT is committed to keeping an enclosed mall area from Boscov’s to Macy’s.

    If the same mall was a mile over in Somerdale like Lions Head Plaza, no offense to people in Somerdale, it would lost all of its anchors by now.

    While Burlington and Deptford have more highway convenient locations, the local demographics aren’t comparable to Voorhees. I’d consider Cherry Hill, Moorestown, Mt.Laurel, Marlton and Deptford retail shopping to be competition to Voorhees retail as far as proximity.

    Burlington is a bit far north (15 miles), and I’d consider that mall competing in relation to only Moorestown or Mt.Laurel retail (7-10 miles). It’s really the other way around though. That Moorestown and Mt.Laurel are more a threat to what might go to Burlington, than otherwise.

    Burlington is actually an enclave on its own as its 10 miles north of
    Moorestown also, and 15-25 south of Quakerbridge. Burlington is kinda just there for those living in that area with nothing else closer. I know some people in Westampton that frequent the anchor stores in Burlington Mall, but don’t buy anything in the enclosed part of the mall, which is mostly ma-pa urban wear businesses.

    While Echelon(Voorhees) doesn’t have a unique anchor, I believe it will be a hot spot like how it was in the 90’s, if there is a good ambience around the place. I’m waiting to see if Starbucks is going there, or if it will be some other chain like Coffee Beanery…

    It would be nice if it had a JCPenney. Perhaps, a smaller 1 story level 75,000 sq.ft. JCPenney store would fit in well, instead of a grocery store. JCPenney is opening these kind of stores elsewhere.

    While Cherry Hill has both Macy’s and JCPenney, they are separated too far. Also, with that mall expansion, that mall will be too crowded.

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  17. Isn’t the mall renovation supposed to be done by the Holidays? Any updates?

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  18. Any more pictures on the “older side” (vs. the “newer side that’s about to be demolished”)?

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  19. I passed by the place yesterday. I only saw the exterior. First of all the whole other half of the mall between Macy’s and the old JC is gone and is being dug up for the residential and retail section, but no structure has been erected yet. On the mall side they tore down the old movie theater and the food court entrance was re-done. The biggest change was the new main entrance where Macy’s is. The entrance itself is not yet completely done but it looks pretty much as it was sketched in the artist rendition. The side of the mall facing Somerdale road still looks the same as it always has but that will eventually change. All I know about the inside of the mall is that new flooring is being put in and there is a new escalator and elevator near the new main entrance. I agree the mall should be done renovating by December, but all the other projects around the mall will just be starting to be constructed.

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  20. They need to scrap the idea of residential units for the mall. At the time, it was nice and needed to get the go-ahead for the demolition. People were upset with Wal-Mart, but the plan of residential won’t make the place an “it” place, either. The enclosed part of the mall will just wind up being mom and pop or B list stores. I don’t think PREIT put all that nice flooring in the mall to attract that. Mixed use is nice, but the place needs more retail, not residential.

    They need to get a Borders or Barnes & Noble, a Starbucks (or other viable alternate), and stick retail and a few fast casual restaurants at the site, like an outdoor New York & Company store, a mix of other women and men , childrens, sports stores in a main street or outdoor lifestyle center type development.

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  21. it sounds like this mall really suxs its almost like seaview square mall which also had a bad choice of anchors the 3 S stores sears,stern’s and steinbach they had proposed a lord and taylor there but it went to monmouth mall after hahne’s went out of business. the last time I visited that mall was in 1995 almost half of the stores were shut down at least now as a big box center its doing so much better. thats probably goin to be the same scenario down at echelon

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  22. BTW how is VTC (formerly Echelon Mall) doing now that the initial phase is done?

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  23. Well, the mall does look nice inside. PREIT put new floors and a new escalator. Right now, its the seasonal Christmas traffic, so it has people in it.

    The question is whether PREIT will be able to lease spots quickly next year. Perhaps the A list tenants would want outside retail instead. A grocery anchor tenant hasn’t been named.

    I’d like to see Shoe Dept., Disney Store, Express, NY&Co., The Limited, Lane Bryant, Coffee Beanery, and so forth – the chains that left return.

    I noticed American Eagle Outfitters joined the Promenade at Sagemore, which probably rules them out of joining VTC. AE has 3 locations – Cherry Hill mall, Moorestown mall, and now Promenade (Marlton). GAP is in Marlton (Marlton Sq.) also – which probably means no to VTC as well.

    The still vacant Organized Living store at Promenade could be subdivided for perhaps an Express, The Limited, NY&Co. combo – which would also rule out those chains returning to Voorhees.

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  24. According to the 2008 In the Pipeline magazine, an 18,000 sq.ft. Krazy City amusement park and a day care center are joining the Voorhees Town Center.

    Krazy City’s website confirms it:
    http://www.krazycity.com/

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  25. I noticed Against All Odds is clsoing. Its strange that a number of urban stores in the mall are gone, including G-Street, Against All Odds now and the McDonalds.

    Against All Odds opened at the former GAP site, right by the escalators. They opened during redevelopment talk but before redevelopment.

    I wonder if its coincidental, a rent hike, or just poor sales, or PREIT is not wanting those stores in the mall.

    Maybe they could get H&M there with a second Southern NJ location.

    Bath & Body Works opens again in a new store in a couple days.

    I think a new glitzy Hallmark store is opening in the mall also. I wonder which new stores could go there.

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  26. A family member of mine is going to lease some of the new office space and she received a packet from PREIT about the proposed retailers for the maill and for the outdoor center. I was shocked by some of the stores that PREIT was attempting to woo. Some of the “plans” included Hollister, Aldo, Express, Ann Taylor, Eddie Bower, etc. I wonder if they actually have signed these stores or if they are only proposed.

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  27. Eddie Bauer is unlikely since they are opening in Cherry Hill (Haddonfield) Rd. racetrack. I doubt they’d have two stores so close. An Aldo is possible, and same with Express. Express used to be in the mall and at Cherry Hill and Moorestown at the same time. But Express might be hesistant to go solo without other A list in line apparel chains around.

    They haven’t signed on a coffee chain. Its its Starbucks, its exclusively Starbucks. Starbucks however will ask for a lot lower rent rate. PREIT could go with Coffee Beanery, Gloria Jean’s Coffee or Caribou instead. Dunkin Donuts would be too downscale.

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  28. What they need is to woo a Sonic Restaurant to put on the perimeter of the mall. That would draw a ton of people to the area – at least until further Sonic concentration into New Jersey.

    If you look at the pdf site plan, they do have a lot next to the new day care (why another day care on Burnt Mill Road???) that is earmarked for a new restaurant. Who knows what the plans are for that. It doesn’t appear to be a large enough lot for a casual dining spot such as Chilis. I was assuming another fast food store such as Arbys.

    They also sorely need a big box bookstore (Barnes & Noble), sporting goods store (Dicks?) and electronics store (Best Buy). I know there is no room for any of those with the current site plan. However, you have to go all the way to the Cherry Hill racetrack or Moorestown Mall for anything like that.

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  29. Unfortunately, those stores all went to the Cherry Hill racetrack area for the 3rd store in the area, after serving Moorestown/Mt.Laurel to the north and Deptford to the south. The racetrack area is more accessible for Philly as it is anyways, and Voorhees residents can just get on I295 and drive a few up miles to Moorestown or south to Deptford.

    But, if the racetrack had been re-used for a lake, community college relocation, office or a real main street town center with no big boxes, and the Echelon Mall development plan didn’t start with keeping the mall with Wal-Mart on the side, and then stop Walmart, the site could have been used as a hybrid mall, big box site similar to other hybrid malls/big boxes, and Echelon could have been the third location for these stores.

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  30. What about a hollister or abercrombie?

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  31. Hollister just opened at Cherry Hill and Moorestown. And, they are already in Deptford. Pushing for Voorhees would be oversaturation. If anything, they should try to get some space in CC Philly. The same with Abercrombie.

    I think Wet Seal tried all three CH, Moorestown and Echelon not too long ago but shut Moorestown and Echelon.

    If anything, Moorestown wins over Echelon in attracting retail now, since its nearer the highways and has more stores so they feed off each other, even though Voorhees/Echelon Mall looks nicer inside now.

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  32. @Justin: HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL YES NJ needs more Sonics.

    I gotta check this place out when I do my South NJ run eventually D:

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  33. I don’t know. I think that all this investment into Voorhees/Echelon may just be like the Sears expansion and other expansions of the past. Money poured into the mall with new flooring and design, but all the retail tenants have found elsewhere to go, including Deptford Mall, Audubon Crossings, Garden State Racetrack plazas, Marlton Square, Promenade at Sagemore and Moorestown Mall, East Gate Square and Centerton Square. I look at the Voorhees Town Center website, and there are still a number of vacancies and half the leasable space from before. I’m wondering how they will attract more than Hallmark and Radio Shack. Will the next phases of development help?

    I think greater results would have come by putting investment into Moorestown Mall. For example, if they simply new modern signage, removed the blue pastel exterior touches, new flooring in Moorestown and a new corridor (perhaps the small UA movie theater would have to be kicked out and foodcourt moved to Sears to fill in that side), but put a new wing at the current food court side with a destination store , they’d attract a lot more retail into Moorestown, which is facing chronic vacancy issues.

    The strategy is Lane Furniture, a Zounds store (hearing aids), Chipotle which is not very accessible from the enclosed part of the mall. Potbelly and Pei Wei are not even attached to the mall. Eastern Mountain Sports should be considerably helpful though. But, its a hodgepodge of stores over there, and the mall has chronic vacancy issues.

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  34. The movie theatre, albiet pretty crappy, does pretty good business.

    Although I’d go for a Neiman Marcus :P

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  35. I have heard next to nothing about the redevelopment of this place in the local newspapers! Do we know what stores are going to the Boulevard section? How different does the interior look since the renovations?

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  36. lordsomber said,
    “ON AUGUST 22ND, 2007 AT 4:16 PM
    Anyone remember the restaurant there in the 70’s that had belly-dancing..? I seem to remember “Continental” in them name.”

    I remember the Belly-Dancing.. it was in the back of a pizzeria located on the downstair corner across from the escalators. After it closed , the space was taken over by a York Steak House. Back in the 70’s under the escalators, (where the cookie company is now located ) used to be a 3-D model of the entire mall and surrounding area in a glass case.

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  37. Does anyone know any of the new stores coming to the new mall, or are there any good guesses? Alot of people are saying a hollister, but it’s not definite.

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  38. Continuing from my Cherry Hill Mall post:

    http://www.labelscar.com/new-jersey/cherry-hill-mall

    The same pylon is still there:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/EMPylon.jpg

    Macy’s Entrance:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/EMMacysEnt.jpg

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/EMMacysEntZoom.jpg

    Awesome railing and bannister:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/EMMacys.jpg

    Boscov’s court with new Stairs:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/EMBoscovs.jpg

    Directory:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/EMDirectory.jpg

    Flooring:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/EMFlooring.jpg

    A much improved Food court, though with totally inadequate seating:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/EMFoodCourt.jpg

    Main Street:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/EMMainStreet.jpg

    In front of Macy’s:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/EMTownCenter.jpg

    Also nothing other than the grocery store is being worked on right now, as PREIT’s concentrating their efforts on CHM, which was PACKED with construction workers EVERYWHERE.

    Krazy City will be 2 floors it seems.

    And a Labelscar:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/EMMacysStawbridgeLabelscar.jpg

    I’m glad Macy’s wasn’t stupid enough to remove the Seal of confidence from its’ takeovers.

    And I leave you with this:

    http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a124/AceJay/Malls/StrawbridgeLOL.jpg

    This is right on the spot on 38, just north of Moorestown Mall, where that abandoned house was.

    Interesting.

    Also, which came first? The Lake named Strawbridge, the office park, or the location at Moorestown Mall?

    And make sure you check out my Cherry Hill and surrounding set:

    http://www.labelscar.com/new-jersey/cherry-hill-mall

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  39. Does anybody still know what grocery store is going there?

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  40. I don’t like what they did with the foodcourt seating. There used to be a half wall. Now, its just tables, and it feels like less privacy. And the strange thing was the tables and chairs that were there before weren’t so bad. Yet, in the Moorestown Mall, the tables and chairs are really cheap, and they are still using it. While this Echelon Mall plan is fine, I think they are really blowing it with a half as job for Moorestown – which is in a lot better location. The Courier Post had an article that PREIT is doing an exterior makeover for Moorestown, which is 10 years late in my opinion, but atleast its better than status quo.

    As far as grocery store in Echelon, I have no idea. I think they were anticipating ShopRite, which by far is the leader in NJ. ACME has more stores but in low key locations. But the ShopRite owners already acquired a number of nearby SuperG/Stop&Shop stores since this Voorhees plan came out. Perhaps its for Superfresh.

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  41. On the Echelon foodcourt, although I don’t like the seating arrangement so much, the removal of McDonalds from the foodcourt, and some of the urban wear oriented stores, seems to have cut the ghetto element the mall was going in, and brings an older crowd. Also, with the brick, and offices? near Macys, it feels like an office park feeling. Perhaps once the main street is built, the feel will change again.

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  42. I thought it was said earlier it was a Prototype Super Stop & Shop.

    Or was that Montgomery Promenade?

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  43. AceJay, Ahold/Stop&Shop is done with Southern NJ. ShopRite picked up their stores. Ahold also owns Giant-PA in the PA suburbs, but I doubt they’d open up Giant-PA in Southern NJ with just one store/

    The difference between Giant-PA, and Super-G/Stop&Shop was mainly that Giant PA was not unionized, while the MD Giant, and Boston-North Jersey Stop&Shop was, so there were issues to convert those stores to non unionized Giant-PA stores.

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  44. I think if Superfresh isn’t interested, another possibility is for Safeway/Genuardi’s to relocate their store in Echelon Village Plaza to a larger 60,000 sq. ft store in the Town Center.

    The space in the Echelon Village Plaza, off White Horse Rd, could be used for PETCO and another mini big box chain. The pet stores (PETCO, PetSmart) don’t seem to be in a declining market.

    Something upscale like Barnes & Noble would make sense as Voorhees and Cherry Hill East have affluence, and White Horse Rd. is a artery road leading to Camden County College and UMDNJ Stratford too. But, since B&N is opening at the Racetrack with a 3rd store, a 4th maybe oversaturation, though if Borders goes under, Voorhees would be prime to pick up a B&N. The Ech. Village Plaza location/White Horse Rd. is probably still more of a prime spot for retailers.

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  45. I just found this website today and was very interested to read about all the information on South Jersey malls. I wanted to add to some memories of the Echelon Mall that I had as a teenager from the Marlton area in the 90s. During that time, the Echelon Mall was THE mall to visit, especially for teens. The Moorestown Mall had experienced a fire in the late 80s and was still being renovated during this time, and the Cherry Hill mall had experienced some buzz of being unsafe (I believe there was news of children being kidnapped or assaulted). Therefore, everyone (I knew anyhow) went to the Echelon Mall. One of the best things I remember about this mall was a place called Exhilarama. I cant really describe it, other than an indoor amusement-type place. There was a roller coaster, laser tag arena and lots of games to play. It was a great place to throw a birthday party. I remember it was replaced by a movie theatre. Also, the stores in the mall at that time were actually pretty diverse and clean. The time the mall began to experience a downturn was after the brand new Sears closed. After I returned to the area after college, there was really not much left of the mall. It was such a big shock for me to see it virtually empty. I had visited it some time last year to see how the redevelopment was coming, and the entire wing to the left of the food court was completely empty, the floor tiles also being ripped out. I am anxious to see what will be built there in the coming years. Also, despite what most people say about the location, even though it is not on a major highway, it really isnt that isolated. Whitehorse Road and Haddonfield Rd are two heavily traveled roads located right near it. Everyone in the area knows where it is anyhow. Just thought I would share some good memories of the mall!

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  46. Christina, the Exhilarama wasn’t replaced by the movie theater. Both co-existed. There was a pad for a bank, and a few other things, but it looked somewhat tacky from the outside. I agree the mall was at its heydey about at that point, and was a teen joint.

    It unfortunately failed, and the movie theater was getting old. They ran $1.50 movies for a while, then closed outright. Now, the past history of Exhilarama there makes it concerning for the Krazy City venue at the mall.

    I believe the newer theaters at the time Cinemark 16 Somerdale and Ritz on 561 essentially made the movie theater at the mall obsolete. Now that Cinemark in Lions Head Plaza attracts a lot of teens (which unfortunately was troublesome for a grocery store also coexisting).

    The Exhilarama pad @ Echelon was torn down for more parking, when Sears signed on with the mall. That was a good idea, as the foodcourt and library needed more parking.

    But, I say this that Sears was the biggest mistake for the mall, and the Rouse Co. really screwed things up not finding a new tenant there when Sears left. The problem is most stores don’t want 2 level buildings, esp when the 2nd level has no outside entrance. So, atmost Rouse (then PREIT) could get Burlington Coat Factory or something a step down. And BCF is already in Marlton.

    But prior to Sears failing, Rouse didn’t renovate the mall which was needed after Sears moved in. When JCPenney saw the loss of traffic, a dead anchor sitting next to it after Sears left, it closed, and it began a downward spiral.

    Surprisingly, a lot of quality tenants stayed in the mall up. Another dumb move was PREIT (the new owner) didn’t feel the need to pay for relocation for these tenants. The mall owner has relocation rights which can mean they could help Lane Bryant say move closer to Boscov, and then begin tearing down the dead unneeded space for something new.

    PREIT has now lost all those tenants, and the mall just has Macy’s and Boscov’s – which are in Moorestown, and nothing great stores (RadioShack, Hallmark, etc.) which are also easily found in outdoor strip malls

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  47. I am amazed about the total blackout of news coverage on the new Voorhees Town Center. I haven’t been able to find any articles on it. Has the outdoor portion been finished yet?

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  48. I went there today. The office building is almost done. The luxury condos/apartments Arbitare will supposedly be ready by end of summer. PREIT was advertising them in Moorestown Mall also.

    The Krazy City has a nice look in and out but is not open. It has its own outside entrance, and will occupy the space of CVS and Echelon Bagel.

    The Scotto’s Pizza was replaced by another pizzeria, which has a better look.

    However, the mall’s vacancy issues seem to be a problematic. The upper level is more dead than it has been ever. There are just a few retailers up there. Foot Locker and Victoria Secret are the only big ones, but with smaller/older stores. The foodcourt area on the first floor seems to be ok, attracting more stores at the moment.

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  49. No word on the planned grocery store. I think the VTC won’t be like how Echelon once was. It may just be a nice quiet community thing, but not a big draw.

    A fter the Cherry Hill shopping area, the retailers seem more interested in the 561/White Horse Rd. intersection to Voorhees Corporate Center of Echelon, and of course, the stretch of Route 73 in Marlton and then Voorhees, and Route 38 to Mt.Laurel. The demographics become mixed-blue collar by Berlin and further down 73, and further east past Lumberton on 38, and Medford is constrained by Route 70 reducing to a one lane road.

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  50. I also learned that the YMCA in the Echelon area near the Echelon Mall closed back in January. That must have been another big loss for the Echelon community. Just did a google search on Voorhees YMCA and found an article.

    Voorhees has a nice upscale gym, William G. Rohrer Center for HealthFitness which has been operation for awhile, which probably took away some members from the YMCA. But, I’m sure a lot of the YMCA members won’t pay for high membership there. Perhaps a new YMCA could be built somewhere else in Camden County, in a more centralized location? (Cherry Hill)

    By Cherry Hill west (08002, 08034), there are a few gyms – LA Fitness, Future Fitness, Philadelphia Sports Club…then Bally’s in Maple Shade, and Planet Fitness off Rte 70 in Cherry Hill east, but no public affordable fitness center around.

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  51. I am a Sales Manager for a national retail company, and my company ( I won’t say who) wants to relocate me to this area from Upstate NY to help increase sales and get our store back on track. The sales for this store have decreased by 20% over the last 2 years, and I believe upwards of 30% from five years ago. Is this mall still that bad? Is there any chance for success in this mall? We are on the bottom level of the mall if that helps at all. I just don’t want to commit career suicide by moving my life out here.

    Thanks

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  52. I’d honestly have to say it depends on the company/business.

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  53. As former DM for a retail chain, I’d tell you to NOT do it. Your DM or regional will ride you to increase LY comp percantages, and if the mall is truly suffering, there will be little you can do to deliver those types of results. Yes, you can remerchandise and follow customer service protocols, but if the traffic is just not there, you will have a very difficult time.

    DM’s know this also. If you are really good, they want to try to use you to stop the bleeding. If they have to make cuts, then they will transfer you to another store where you do not have a rapport with any of the staff. Then they will fire you. Be cautious. Do not let them flatter your ego to try to get you to do it. Demand compensation, and know who you’re dealing with in terms of your DM or regional. If in doubt, stay put.

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  54. It would be something if Boscov’s now falters. PREIT is screwed! While Cherry Hill Mall is ok, Moorestown ok, what would they do with Voorhees? Perhaps Wal-Mart or JCPenney would have be back on the board, but Wal-Mart may not be interested this time around. I’m also not sure where Wal-Mart is in the Somerdale development project for redevelopment of Lions Head Plaza.

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  55. Just checked and Wal-Mart is coming to nearby Somerdale as a WalMart SuperCenter there. While the concern was on traffic, the developer has won approval.

    The Lions Head Plaza is being redeveloped and renamed to CooperTowne Center. The Cinemark multiplex theater and Dollar General are staying in tact there, while LA Fitness and Wal-Mart SuperCenter are coming aboard as well. Proposed tenants also include stores like Joyce Leslie. Not only did Audubon Crossings take away some chains (FYE, Deb Shop, etc.), now CooperTowne Center might too!

    I don’t know what to say except that we shall hope that Boscov’s can regroup and keep Voorhees open. Otherwise the mall just has Macy’s left. I really think PREIT should have put the new flooring and upgrades to Moorestown which has greater potential, even if it lost Boscov.

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  56. I visited Echelon last night. It was heartening to see a decent number teenagers hanging out at the mall. The new Krazy City entertainment center has opened and looks great. It includes a sit-down restaurant that also has some tables in the mall corridor, which is a nice touch. Also new are a nice-looking pizza place in the food court and a nail salon. The mall was clean and the renovations look nice, especially the “main entrance” in front of Macy’s…hopefully some more stores will be coming soon, despite the economy.

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  57. I visited Echelon last night. It was heartening to see a decent number teenagers hanging out at the mall. The new Krazy City entertainment center has opened and looks great. It includes a sit-down restaurant that also has some tables in the mall corridor, which is a nice touch. Also new are a nice-looking pizza place in the food court and a nail salon. The big “Echelon” sign at the intersection of Burnt Mill and Somerdale now has the new “Voorhees Town Center” name and an attractive new logo. The mall was clean and the renovations look nice, especially the “main entrance” in front of Macy’s…hopefully some more stores will be coming soon, despite the economy.

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  58. I looked at PREIT’s leasing plan and the new planned buildings.
    http://www.preit.com/download/leasing/detail/leaseplan/35.pdf
    See the last two pages.

    There is no 60,000 sq.ft. building for a grocery anchor tenant that I see. I’d say they changed direction, but of course, it won’t be aannounced.
    Old press release:
    http://www.snl.com/irweblinkx/file.aspx?IID=102991&FID=3345872

    They are planning buildings for offices and such but it seems spec at the moment. I’ll probably guess they will phase construction out until they actually get some tenants.

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  59. I loved Echelon mall when I was growing up in the mid 80’s to early 90’s. I worked at the Echelon General Cinema there from ’90-’93. That was back in the day when the entire mall was hopping (espesially Christmas time…wow, was it packed). Working the cinema on weekends was crazy and fun. We were just a little 4 theatre cinema, but we had tons of people come to us for movies. Those were some great days at the cinema/mall. It’s strange and very sad to me to see this once busy, great mall fade away. Too bad the people around the Echelon Mall stopped spending locally. The Echelon Mall had plenty still to offer, but people are so over-picky now and hard to please. I guess It’s just as well if they ever decide to rip it down. It’s best days are behind it and this area isn’t as nice to live in anymore anyway. C’est la vie.

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  60. No, Christina, the General Cinema was at it’s location years before Exhilarama. I think Exhilarama was created around ’91-’92ish. As I said in my other post above, I worked at the Cinema at the time and remember when they were building Exhilarama. I think we at the cinema thought Exhilarama would steal some of our teen business…it didn’t really. Although, the cinema WAS losing business at the time.

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  61. RK, I’m not quite sure what you mean. “I guess It’s just as well if they ever decide to rip it down. ” The place is already undergoing redevelopment.

    Voorhees and Cherry Hill East are among the most affluent esteemed areas in Southern NJ. While its not in their backyard, most likely its these residents that will and continue to support Moorestown Lord & Taylor and Cherry Hill Nordstrom. I went to the Virtua fitness center on Evesham Rd. ($75/mo) and its a packed gym, even in this economy. Add a nice movie theater on Haddonfield Berlin Rd. Ppl in Voorhees have money. The retail & upscale apartments at Echelon however may not thrive (or atleast right away), but hopefully the economy will pick up.

    Also, a lot of the once at Echelon stores have moved to
    Marlton Promenade, Marlton Square, Marlton Crossing
    Rte.73 Voorhees
    Audubon Crossings
    Deptford Mall
    CooperTowne Plaza Somerdale (coming soon, replacing Lions Heads Plaza)

    [Reply]

    RK Reply:

    @Josh, when I posted this, there WAS talk about them ripping the mall down. Although they’ve now (Oct 2010), redeveloped the area, it’s still hurting (business-wise). Voorhees citizens (even in the immediate vicinity of the mall), for the most part, choose to shop elsewhere. At this rate, like I stated in my initial post, it WOULD be just as well if they ever decided to actually rip it down.

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  62. The commenter ”Zach” above pretty much echoes my sentiments about this mall. I looked at the directory and I was amazed at how much it has changed since the last time I went there (which was in 2004). The McDonald’s, several clothing stores, the hobby shop, the Scotto Pizza….all not there anymore I couldn’t believe it! But still, Echelon Mall was my favorite mall as a kid, and it always will remain in my heart. And I will always call it ECHELON MALL, not that lame ”Voorhees Town Center” name.

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  63. It is hard for me to believe that at one time that I, along with a few others, thought this mall was better than Deptford Mall. Boy how times change. I think the “mall death” began circa 2000-01 with the closings of JC Penney and Sears. The popularity of online shopping made things even worse for the mall (along with other American malls). During the 1980s and 1990s, Echelon Mall had a huge flow of customers but now it is a shell of what it used to be. The place doesn’t even have “mallrats” anymore.

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  64. It really brings back memories thinking about the mall. I used to go there all the tie in the mid to late 80’s and that place was always packed. I can visualize the 4 theater General Cinema. That was a great place to go especially if you were not old enough to drive but lived near a stop on the PATCO. I remember many nights coming out of the theater and having to walk around the closed mall to get back to the train. I never really liked the food court because the seating area was narrow and when it was crowded with shoppers you could barely hear the person you were sitting with. I remember the old arcade that was where I had later seen a Scotto pizza and the model shop that was next to it.I have been gone from the area for 15 years so I am sad but not surprised to hear about the malls trouble. Thanks to all who posted up their memories. When I started reading the posts I could not help but thinking of being 14 years old leaving the mall with my best friend after seeing John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness and having to walk around the closed mall (11 pm show). I don’t think I have ever looked over my shoulder so many times.

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  65. I’ve only moved to Sicklerville NJ with my family back in 1999 and have experienced the mall a few months later. I remember only walking down the northeastern hallway ONCE and ONLY once towards Sears and barely glimpsing at the JC Penney before going back towards the “main” area (between Strawbridge & Clothier/Boscov’s). To me there was nothing interesting to see or purchase and I cared little when Sears and JC Penney closed. I do remember riding NJ Transit bus route 459 and wondering “why the heck is there a gigantic parking lot when there are so few stores open?”

    I ride the NJ Transit bus 403 every day and back when CVS, a dollar store and McDonald’s were all placed within 500 feet of each other it was a great convenience to a poor late-teen in need of picking up supplies, going to GameStop (groan) and then eating a burger before jumping on the bus for the fifty-minute ride. The first sign of things going wrong was that the Disney Store became a mere shadow, Kay Bee Toy & Hobby was desperate for customers, the Dollar Store had closed it’s doors, and to my horror – no more CVS! Where was I supposed to pick up the latest PC World or Electronic Gaming Monthly along with my toothpaste or pine sol? With no CVS I couldn’t pick up my school supplies for my classes at nearby Camden County College. There was little incentive to shop at the mall anymore for what I needed.

    Fast forward to Summer 2009. I have a well-paying job, am still single, and have some extra money to spend. Where’s the best place to spend my time? For electronics it’s East Gate Plaza’s Best Buy. For video games it’s a small mom-and-pop store in Turnersville (as the GameStop in VTC is staffed with rude, obnoxious people who are too friendly with race-profiling security guards). I don’t even want to go there for books as the Borders Express is too small, and the food court (while more varied than Cherry Hill’s) is too “open”, with no privacy while eating. Thanks to the Apple Store, a larger Radio Shack and Borders, I have no problem traveling to Westmont and then jump on a route 450 to Cherry Hill every month. The shopping there is more varied, attractive, and well…there’s actual LIFE.

    *Just last month I visited Boscov’s for new clothes for the office and when I stepped on the escalator to head down to the food court. The security officer riding the escalator in front of me kept looking over her shoulder at a African-American wearing a shirt and tie, wearing glasses and holding a large Boscov’s bag and his iPod. After the fourth time I was so angry I retorted “Yes, I actually BOUGHT something”, wherein she finally stopped and walked away.

    I think I’m beginning to see where VTC is headed. I can certainly understand the pressures that the owners are under to produce revenue and for the adjacent neighbors in Echelon Glen, the Lakeside Retirement Community, The Village At Voorhees and Voorhees Township wanting to keep the riff-raff out and the property values up, but I draw the line at lack of variety, racism and downright coldness of the atmosphere. Add to the fact that I’m looking for my first bachelor pad – VTC’s new condos are starting at $1,345.00 per month. Yeah…

    Why should I give my money to place that has deteriorated to a point where the only place that I want to go is Chic-fil-A?

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  66. Echelon Mall was the best I am so sad its all washed up now but it is still my favoritie mall. On the website there are more sotres that say leasing oppurtunites than actual stores!

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  67. The Arbitare apartments are amongst the nicest (and most expensive rent) in Camden/Burlington county. I suppose PREIT can lure desirable renters on that its Voorhees (good schools,etc.) and near Ashland station for folks who need to get into Center City easily.

    However, the retail in VTC sucks, and is pretty much Macy’s, Boscov’s and a foodcourt and some random few stores remaining.

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  68. I was able to take an afternoon off (with pay) last week and decided to take my favorite NJ Transit route: the 451 to Lindenwold, hoping to stop at Chic-fil-A at VTC on the way as I had skipped breakfast that day. While walking through the mall I noticed that the pet store on the second level had finally shut down within the past six weeks, and there was another tenant next to it that vacated (oh Good Lord, I think that was the Kay Bee!). Towards the Macy’s end in the upper level, two more stores have closed, and I honestly don’t know how the (seemingly lonely) Victoria Secret is surviving.

    The Macy’s department store was a ghost town, and their third floor was completely empty (supposedly the HR and manager’s offices but Macy’s has taken over the S&C space for eighteen months and they haven’t used all of the space yet). The only small stores that seem to attract any decent business would be the Borders Express, Yankee Candle Co., and Hallmark.

    PREIT should get down on their knees and thank God that Boscov’s corporate offices are doing a favor and letting the Echelon Boscov’s department store stay open – they’re the only store in this mall that seems to be paying the bills and worth visiting and spending money; however if Boscov’s so much as COUGHS then Echelon Mall is DONE. Over with.

    I can understand everyone’s sentiments about the mall – heck, I’m a new South Jersey resident who’s main visits to a mall are the wretched Gallery at Market East (and it truly needs to die, but won’t as there’s way too much foot traffic to and from SEPTA’s Market East Station, the Broad-Ridge Spur, El stops at 8th and 11th, and the PATCO) with a few visits to Franklin Mills and one journey to King of Prussia. However, Echelon Mall/VTC just isn’t the place that it used to be because it failed miserably in adjusting to changing times. they updated the WRONG SIDE OF THE MALL in my opinion – from Somerdale Road they’re no visible change at all.

    Tenants are leaving left and right. The restaurant that replaced the theatre is NOT catering to the number of customers needed to keep it running. There are NO music stores, arcades or decent toy/hobby stores to draw the younger crowds in. It’s now reduced to a mere shell of it’s former self.

    It’s very interesting that PREIT is more focused on building apartments and condos that no one can afford rather than attracting new stores to replace the old.

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    AceJay Reply:

    No arcades? Krazy City is there, right? That has a bunch of games.

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  69. Sorry about that…I’m afraid to go in and take a look. However I must retain my statement regarding the lack of customers – however it’s not KC’s fault (glares at PREIT)…

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  70. James, I don’t know how PREIT will make money on the mall.

    PREIT did originally want Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart would pay for its construction and land, but the community opposed it. The mall would pretty much still be dead though.

    Nonetheless the market works in some way. Voorhees, a more upscale town, gets upscale apartments, while Somerdale gets the discounter. And the Echelon area being so close to PATCO makes some sense being residential. And route 73 becomes the retail dominated area.

    About Macy’s and Boscovs; they are both in Deptford and Moorestown, and they’d likely stick in Deptford as its a more valuable location, then Moorestown and then last Echelon. Macy’s is also in Cherry Hill and Burlington Ctr, so has coverage in every SJ mall except for Cumberland Mall in Vineland.

    On some level the dept. stores maybe ok, given that the mall might itself can fail but the dept. chains can sweep up the retail business. (i.e. if you need to buy jeans, you don’t meander in the mall anymore, just drive and park by Macy’s, buy it and leave).

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  71. I miss that old Echelon movie theater. I mean, it was just a small 4-screen theater, but I loved the smell of popcorn as you walked in (smaller theaters really carry that popcorn smell) and the fact that I saw so many movies there as a little kid in the late 70s/early 80s.

    The first movie I EVER remember seeing was Snow White, at the Echelon Mall theater, with pizza at Scotto beforehand. I saw The Muppet Movie there, too, and Pinocchio, and…oh, so many. And Star Trek IV as a young teenager.

    I know they weren’t keeping it open for nostalgic adults, and it’s no slam on the Ritz, but I still miss that theater.

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  72. As far as music stores go theres a Hot Topic right next to game stop… They have a decent selection of c.d’s as well as vinyl and all sorts of music oriented things… They also just brought some ritzy looking spa in which seems nice and a perfume stand… The mall also has 2 liquor licenses… 1 is going to be given to the P.J. Weilihans (sp?) and the other is going to be split between to other resturants which are unknown atm… Bath and Body works as well as Radio Shack, Spencers, Victoria’s Secret, Halmark and the couple phone stores are all doing pretty well… About a month ago a self owned store named “Born in the USA” came in only to leave after week or so… there is also a hair dressing school/salon which is nice as well… as far as the food court goes they brought a nice smoothie place in that makes awesome smoothies and pretty good food… and if ya like sushi theres Yanagi which is pretty good as well. And i will have to dissagree with you about the Game Stop employees, Mr. James Wallace, who in my experience have been pretty awesome and the “race profiling” security guards HAHAHA most of them are african american, hispanic/white mix or old white dudes who need a job… they were probably staring at you because you were a well dressed african american who shopped at boscovs and not the normal ghetto trash the mall sees so very often… and why must it automatically be the whole “race” card? i get stared at pretty hard when i walk in because im a guy with a some piercings and tattoos but whatever brush it off and continue your day… you cant let little things like the staring bother its an everyday thing… so dont be so quick to judge, because obviously you dont like to being judged… And in no way am i trying to be an “asshole” and start a problem… but racisim is the last thing that needs to be brought up anywhere especially in a convo about a mall

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  73. With the pending closure of Burlington Center Mall macys, I wonder how safe the Voorhees Town Center Mall macys really is, in the long term, with macys closing poor location stores.

    macys is redirecting shoppers in Burlington Twp., Westampton, Mt. Holly to shop at Moorestown. They so easily could do the same for the Voorhees Town Ctr. shoppers coming from Voorhees and Cherry Hill East.

    The Moorestown Macy’s seems large enough with enough parking spaces, in a new clean building and easy to get to also, to accomodate all the Voorhees shoppers and still not be as busy as the CH Mall macys.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Josh,

    I would be worried about the Macys Voorhees Town Center, as well.

    How is the “revitalized mall” doing? Has the outdoor section been finished yet?

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Josh,

    I don’t think the Moorestown Macy’s is going anywhere. The power centers around Moorestown Mall definitely help it, but I’d love to hear PREIT announce a revitalization of the mall….but I still love the fountains in the mall :)

    [Reply]

    Mela Reply:

    @mallguy,

    I kind of like the quasi-retheming they’ve done with the quilts and the warm browns at Moorestown Mall. Putting quilts from the local hobby clubs is a good way to make the empty storefront look a little less barren. Of course, the best way would be to attract some new stores, which is what they should be doing. Cherry Hill’s doing fine, so PREIT should give Moorestown some more attention.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @Josh,

    One more thing…if you look at other Macy’s in NJ (ex: Short Hills/Livingston, Woodbridge/Menlo, GSP/Paramus Park) that are within 5 miles of each other, they have sucessfully co-existed for, in at least 2 out 3 of the cases, for 15 years.

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  74. I will let the race matter go, but it cannot be denied that Voorhees Township does not want certain elements to intrude. In reading Jim’s comment though, I may have opened up a can of worms that no one would like to pursue. Going forward:

    FYI: VTC has lost the Borders Express three weeks ago thanks to the recession, and I just happened to be there on the very last night (by accident!). The salespeople had the middle and the back of the store cordoned off and were eating pizza and reminiscing while shoppers strolled in to basically grab items and pay pennies on the dollar. It was admittedly fun and I certainly will miss the convenience of stopping in on a whim when my sister wanted to ride the bus to the mall (she and her friends now hang out at Deptford Mall, I’ve chosen Cherry Hill for the Apple Store, Boscovs and the new yogurt stand in the food court).

    To Mallguy: on the Somerdale Road side, there are NO visible changes except for a cardboard-like stylized “V” with “the Mall” displayed above the front entrance. They even kept the railroad-like light fixtures, some of them noticeably crooked. On the Echelon Road side the Abitare apartments/condos land space is almost full – looks like the last buildings for living spaces are beginning to be constructed. Still practically no stores along the new boulevard (still partially blocked as the progress for Abitare has slowed during 2009), and the attendance of the new salon school and Verizon store is hard to judge.

    I rode NJT’s 451 bus (Camden to Lindenwold via Haddonfield/Cherry Hill East/Voorhees) last night, but it was snowing again and I didn’t want to miss my connection, so I didn’t enter the mall. I don’t think I wanted to – I didn’t want to see the empty space where Borders Express once stood.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I think two more stores have closed…?

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @James Wallace,

    Thanks for the update. I don’t get over there often and if I am in the area, the preferred mall is Cherry Hill.

    [Reply]

  75. I know Borders has been closing Borders Express stores in malls, so the VTC closing doesn’t surprise me.

    I’d think B&N, which is doing much better, could open another store in So. NJ, and go to Echelon side of Voorhees twp., but I’m thinking they’d pass on the mall itself and prefer being directly on White Horse Rd. if so, to have a store between the Camden Co. College area to the Cherry Hill East area. Ideally where the Genuardi’s and Target are located. I think the side of CH and Voorhees is affluent enough that it could support both that store and the Marlton store on 70, and it’d be on a road to the CC College. The other option is on 73 on the way to Berlin, but it maybe too close to the 70 store in Marlton.

    Even though Borders has been generous by giving coupons to its members they’re just not doing well. The one in Marlton doesn’t look so active even though its across the Sagemore shopping center.

    It’d probably won’t be until next summer and assuming the economy improves, that’ll we’ll fully see the end product of VTC was successful or not.

    I also looked at the CooperTowne Shopping Center lease plan (the center in Somerdale that’s supposed to be anchored by Wal-Mart SuperCenter and has the cinemark theaters), and it once had Joyce Leslie as a potential candidate. I don’t see them on the lease plan anymore though. I’d could see JL leaving VTC for that center given the proximity.

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    mallguy Reply:

    @Josh,

    I have noticed that Borders is not doing well. Outside of the northern Jersey Shore area (Freehold and Eatontown), Princeton, Bridgewater and Watchung, they are out of Central Jersey. When I’ve gone to the Freehold Raceway Mall store, which is attached to the mall, it hasn’t been as busy. All bookstores are hurting (notice they adjusted their hours), yet Borders is hurting more…their rollour of “Borders Rewards” was not very successful.

    A Barnes and Noble in VTC, especially on the outdoor section, would be nice, but I don’t see it happening for at least a couple of years.

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  76. I would like to say that the people at Macy’s in the Echelon Mall are kind and helpful. They helped my friendsand I find what we were looking for and were very genrous. I loved the Macy’s at the Voorhess Center (formely Echelon Mall) and they had a wide variety of things there. I strongly recommend that people go to the Macy’s at Echelon Mall to get their clothes!

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  77. @ Anonymous:

    I just don’t see as many customers going in and out of Macy’s as they do Boscov’s. I tried Macy’s but they didn’t have as large a variety of menswear as Boscov’s did, plus the average prices were about $10.00 USD more. Of course this is based on my one experience IN Macy’s during a sale but several observations from the rest of the mall regarding customer volume. Every time I visit I have to excuse myself past whole groups heading towards Boscov’s (seriously, Boscov’s is my only destination store in the mall now, and since there’s one in Cherry Hill Mall I’m done). BTW, I love the candy counter on the first floor – my mom and sisters liked the fudge and it looks classy.

    Maybe it’s the Macy’s end of the mall in general that’s just not attracting enough people to VTC? It seems that once you pass the (too-small) GameStop there’s practically nothing. Sure the vacancies are noticeable on the Boscov’s end, but the whole area is also very well-lit and attractive, has the restaurant/arcade and the Camden County Store and local interest shops/groups. But walk past the food court and toward Macy’s in the other direction and a shopper will notice the change in atmosphere: low lighting, everything’s claustrophobic, and dark areas with vacancies right across from Macy’s.

    With that mental picture I now wish to ask you: which is more inviting, a cheery well-lit end of a struggling mall or a polished yet low-lit end were the vacancies are much more obvious?

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  78. It’s reported that Genuardi’s will be closing its Echelon store:
    http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20100309/BUSINESS/100309064/Genuardi-s-to-close-Voorhees-location

    I think it’s a move to leave before Wal-Mart opens up the SuperCenter in Somerdale this year.

    Anyways, I could see the Voorhees Genuardi’s space being reutilized for some other retail. Maybe B&N?! I’d hope.

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  79. I looked a while ago on Historic aerials.com and noticed that when Echelon Mall first opened, it did not have the JCPenney wing. that must’ve been added later in the 1970’s, and of couse, removed in 2007-2008

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  80. Late 80s, actually…I believe JCPenney was once Stern’s. Sears came on board early 2000s, I think.

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    Njjosh Reply:

    @mallguy,
    Sterns was the Boscovs that still anchors the end of he mall, JC Penny was built as a JC Penny, and the Sears added on later built as new, and ripped down, almost seemingly before the paint even dried.

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  81. Retail Traffic has an interesting article that was posted online a few days ago, I’m pasting it below. It makes you wonder why other communities don’t do the same.

    PREIT Center to House Voorhees Town Hall
    Oct 29, 2010 12:16 PM, Staff Reports

    Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) signed an agreement with the Township of Voorhees for a 24,300-square-foot space at Voorhees Town Center in Voorhees, N.J. The facility will now house Voorhees Town Hall, the local municipal office. The Township of Voorhees will own the space on the mall’s second level.

    The Township plans to open its new offices in the spring of 2011.

    “Moving the Voorhees Town Hall to the Voorhees Town Center is another step in creating something that Voorhees has never had—a ‘downtown,’” said Voorhees Mayor Michael R. Mignogna in a statement. “It will be a place for families to eat, drink, shop, conduct business and share community events. The Voorhees Town Center will become the ‘heartbeat of our community.’”

    Voorhees Town Center recently underwent an $83 million redevelopment. The project, which was built as a regional mall in the early 1970s, has been transformed into a mixed-use center including a two-level mall, an office building, 235 luxury apartments and condominiums, and street-level retail and restaurants. Macy’s and Boscov’s anchor the retail portion of the property.

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  82. After being a resident of Voorhees and a former employee and patron of the pre VTC for over 10 years. I have watched its steady decline. I knew this mall was in grave trouble when the movie theater closed. Sure the place was tiny and rather grimy, but the prices were cheap, films were current, and the location was convenient. But any time a theater must close, a savvy consumer could guess trouble was on the horizon. I once worked at the defunct JC Penny. I learned from a business exec the store was going to close its doors soon after they opened the swanky JCP at the Deptford mall. I took it upon myself to leave the struggling company and enrolled at the University before I could be a victim of their declining profit margin.

    Fast forward to Feb. 2011. VTC boasts newly constructed condos and apartments that are over-priced in the current economy. The City Grill closed and now they have another kid’s amusement that is consistently empty. The choice of retail stores is minimal which has caused me to seek other towns to resolve my shopping desires. I’m still not sure why VTC and the community agreed to open MORE dwellings versus retail space for big anchors like Neiman Marcus, Lord and Taylor, or even a few outlets stores like Coach, Polo, Nike, etc.

    I predict the MALL will continue to decline unless big named stores are introduced. I CANT stand Boscovs clothing and Macy’s is okay, but they do not cater to the young adult as other retailers. And because of this, they will continue to lose patrons to the other malls.

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  83. Random Chic – the mall can’t support Neiman Marcus, Lord and Taylor (which is in Moorestown) or any outlet stores.

    Sadly, it’s doubtful big named stores will be introduced there. Foot Locker, a mall staple, even left the mall. Finish Line remains however.

    Chains will choose Cherry Hill, Marlton or Mt.Laurel locations before Voorhees.

    Boscov’s at VTC could be endangered, and already has stores in Moorestown and Deptford which sufficiently cover the area. Boscov’s could probably do well with a store in Mercer County where they have no coverage, and where it’s still within Philadelphia market boundaries. In PA they have stores in Neshaminy and Plymouth Meeting which are prime locations, and then they are in Del Co. and Delaware.

    Macy’s is a bigger chain and national, and likely can outlast everything at VTC, and PREIT would likely subsidize Macy’s there and do anything and everything to keep them there. Also, it fits with the affluent Voorhees shopper and is there for a convenience.

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  84. This mall keeps trying so so hard, but no good seems to be coming out of it. I stopped there on Friday with my husband as we had an hour to kill in between dinner and our movie. I saw that the mall’s Hot Topic which had been there for years had just closed up shop, along with Spencer’s, which I knew had left about a year ago. Not much is left inside of the mall. There is a handful of stores. The food court is impressive, although I think it’s because there must be a lot of traffic from local hospitals such as law offices and a nearby hospital. There is a Quodba and many other choices. They are really trying to focus on their outside boulevard. Several upscale eateries just set up shop there and there are some other things- but it really is just so sad to walk around this place. When I came here as a kid, it was full of life and so much fun. I remember it being a choice. Do you want to go to Deptford or Echelon? There were so many good stores- Hall of Heroes, a good dollar store, Sam Goody, to name a few…I was in college in 2002 and I was still coming here every now and then. I remember the Fashion Bug and Hall of Heroes still being open and it wasn’t the worst place yet. There was also an Aeropastle and an Express. My grandmother had lived across the street and when I would visit her I would stop in and walk around. I remember that was the point when JCPenney went out of business and things were in such a decline. There is also an abandoned IHOP across the street. It really is a weird area and only 10 minutes away is the Sagemore Promenade which is a really beautiful shopping center. It’s so sad. I don’t know why they keep trying so hard.

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  85. I went there today. It was pretty crowded but I think that was because there was a meet and greet for some dude named Shamus. The upstairs is pretty much empty, and there are about 6 vacant stores in the foodcout. The most populated place was an arcade type place called Tilt Studios.

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  86. Forgive my late entry into this comment section… I grew up 2 towns over from this mall & it was our “go-to” mall when I was a kid.

    The interesting thing about Echelon is that the mall was but one part of a concept that included housing (condos & apartments) and community (the county library was also there). It was one of those 1970’s projects that sought to build a sort of self-sustaining community, along with being a destination for the area. When it was new, it was pretty cutting edge. It had that New Market (South Street Philly) style, and broke stylistically from ’50’s/’60’s shopping mode people were used to then. Up until the mid-80’s there wasn’t really anything like it, but eventually it became a mid-level mall like all the others. It did have a really great start.

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  87. Was wondering if anyone remembers the name of the sporting goods store on the lower level. Guessing it was there from mid 1970’s to late 1980’s.

    [Reply]

    Micky Reply:

    @Chris Eggert, Very late in replying…possibly Modell’s?

    [Reply]

    Ed Reply:

    @Chris Eggert, hermans

    [Reply]

    Richie Reply:

    @Chris Eggert,

    Hermans is the name of the sporting goods store. I used to go in there and mess around when I was a kid.

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  88. I’m probably the youngest on the forum. I’m 20 years old (born in 1995) and have VIVID memories of when this mall was the best. I grew up in Voorhees so Echelon Mall was always an option for my mom and I.

    I read that Exhilarama closed in the early 90’s but for some reason I remember going there in maybe ’97. I think I could see it from the McDonald’s window. Unless it was some other place k begged my mom to take me into. I also remember the movie theater. The last movie I saw there was the Flintstones in ’98 or ’99.

    I literally watched this mall fall in the gutter. I remember when the Sears opened up. I loved going to play on the lawn mowers with my dad. I also remember being in there for hours during its last days getting everything on clearance with my mom and aunts. JC Penny was right outside of the comic bookstore (where my obsession with Sailor Moon began) the dollar store, the Auntie Anne’s, and the nail salon where I got my first manicure.

    I remember Strawbridges being right next to the Disney Store (if I was good in Strawbridges, we’d go to the Disney Store). I also remember the Limited Too, Limited, Lane Bryant, Sam Goody (where I saw a guy with his nails painted for the first time), G-Street, Gap, KB Toys. The Pet Store, City Blues, the pizza store near Boscov’s. Literally every store. The food court was bomb too. Taco Bell, Burger King, the ice cream place in the center, Master Wok. Omg.

    I remember when Against All Odds opened…then closed shortly after.

    The last time I saw that mall as busy as it was in the 90’s was Christmas Eve 2006. Right before they demolished everything after Macy’s.

    My sisters lost me (well, I wandered off) plenty of times in that mall. So much to the point where most of the employees and security guards knew me by name.

    I still go there. It’s like my corner store. If I have coupons for VS that expire that day, I might go over there to use them. Or if I need a last minute outfit. Or have a taste for a pretzel (like I do now). The nail salon Beautiful Nails is also a reason why I still go.

    I honestly wish this mall was what it was when I was little.

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  89. Re: fire at the Moorestown Mall- I didn’t move to NJ until summer of 1990, I believe the fire was after 1993?

    Reading all this has been a trip, I was trying to remember the name of Exhilarama and came across the page. I remember the cheap movie theater well, the Mr. Bulky to the right of the foodcourt doors, and my favorite, the store with the VW Beetle with all the Grateful Dead dancing bears in it. I got hippie skirts there my high school years, I believe is was called Flashbacks.

    I moved away in 2001, and I’m amazed how its all gone downhill. That mall was always so packed, plus you got commuters coming off the PATCO line two blocks away.

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