The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the Promenade at Granite Run Mall in Media, PA

The Birth and Rise of Granite Run Mall (now Promenade at Granite Run)

Granite Run Mall opened in 1974, becoming a cornerstone of retail in Media, Pennsylvania. The mall initially featured anchor stores like Sears, JCPenney, and Gimbels, drawing in crowds from the surrounding areas.

Over the years, the mall became a bustling hub, especially after the Simon Property Group and Macerich took over its management in 1998. At its peak, the mall boasted 125 stores, offering the community a wide range of products and services.

The mall was more than just a shopping destination; it was a gathering place for families and friends. The Granite Run Mall was the go-to spot for social interactions, from holiday events to weekend outings. The mall’s food court and entertainment options added to its allure, making it a complete package for a day out.

Granite Run Mall (now Promenade at Granite Run) in 2015

However, like many retail centers, Granite Run Mall faced challenges. As time passed, the mall started showing signs of wear and tear. Maintenance became a concern, and the once vibrant atmosphere began to wane. Yet, the mall continued to hold a special place in the hearts of the residents, many of whom had grown up visiting it.

The Decline and Financial Struggles

The 2000s were a challenging period for Granite Run Mall. The mall saw increased vacancies, and the owners started exploring selling options. In February 2011, a significant blow came when Simon and Macerich were over 30 days delinquent on the mall’s $115 million mortgage. This financial hiccup led to the possibility of a sale or even forfeiture of the mall.

In April 2011, Simon Property Group relinquished control of the mall back to its lender. Madison Marquette was appointed as the leasing and management agent, and they announced plans to improve lighting, parking lots, and sidewalks. Despite these efforts, the mall struggled, and the community began to feel the impact.

The mall’s decline was a loss for shoppers and the community. Local businesses that relied on the mall’s foot traffic started to suffer. Once a bustling hub, the mall was now a shadow of its former self.

The Transformation into The Promenade at Granite Run

In September 2013, BET Investments purchased the Granite Run Mall for $24 million. The company planned to transform the aging mall into a mixed-use development featuring residential, retail, and entertainment spaces. The redevelopment project was a massive undertaking, with demolishing the existing structure and constructing new buildings.

The first phase of the redevelopment involved demolishing the mall’s interior and constructing one of the planned apartment buildings. The second phase focused on demolishing the movie theater and constructing another apartment building. Throughout this period, two original mall tenants, Boscov’s and Sears, remained open, providing continuity.

By 2018, the transformation was complete, and the Promenade at Granite Run was officially opened. The new development featured a mix of residential, retail, and entertainment options, breathing new life into the area. For locals, the Promenade became a unique gathering spot, offering a range of things to do in Media, Pennsylvania.

The Promenade’s opening was met with enthusiasm. People were excited to explore the new shops, dine at the restaurants, and participate in community events. The development had turned the page on a new chapter, offering a modern, vibrant space while paying homage to its history.

The Current Landscape and Tenants

As of 2023, the Promenade at Granite Run is thriving. A Texas-based retail chain, At Home, signed an 86,000-square-foot lease, filling a space initially allocated for a bowling venue and movie theater. With this new addition, the Promenade’s retail space reached a 92% occupancy rate. Other tenants, including Acme Markets, TJ Maxx, Boscov’s, Michaels, and Kohl’s, offer diverse shopping options.

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Michaels, the well-known arts and crafts store, offers a creative outlet for residents. Boscov’s remains a retail anchor, providing a wide range of products from clothing to home goods. Kohl’s offers affordable fashion and home essentials, making it a popular family choice. ACME Markets is the go-to grocery store, offering fresh produce and daily necessities.

Petco provides pet supplies and services, making it convenient for pet owners in the area. The Edge Fitness Clubs offer a comprehensive fitness experience, from cardio workouts to group classes.

Budget Truck Rental caters to those in need of moving and transportation services. Goldfish Swim School offers children swimming lessons, emphasizing safety and fun. Omnia Spa provides various wellness services, from massages to skincare treatments.

Another unique tenant is the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. While not a typical mall tenant, its presence offers a convenient location for residents to handle vehicle registrations and other transportation-related tasks.

However, not all was smooth sailing. Sears, one of the original tenants, closed its doors on August 15, 2021. Despite this, the Promenade continued to attract new businesses and visitors, maintaining its role as a community hub.

The Future Developments and Plans

The Promenade at Granite Run has a promising future. BET Investments plans to build an apartment complex with 208 units and 23,000 square feet of additional retail space. This new development aims to offer more residential and commercial opportunities, enhancing the community’s lifestyle options.

Moreover, the 192-unit apartment complex is fully leased, indicating strong demand for residential spaces. This is a positive sign for the upcoming apartment complex and suggests that the Promenade will continue to be a sought-after location for living and shopping.

The Promenade is also set to welcome new tenants. With the closing of Sears, there is room for new businesses to set up shop. The management actively seeks to fill these spaces, ensuring that the Promenade remains a vibrant and essential part of the community.

Looking ahead, the Promenade at Granite Run is poised for growth. With new developments on the horizon and strong community backing, the future looks bright. The Promenade is more than just a shopping center; it’s a community landmark that continues to evolve while maintaining its roots.

Granite Run Mall
Sears – Promenade at Granite Run Media, PA” by MikeKalasnik is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Granite Run Mall had its moment in the spotlight when it was initially considered the filming location for “MallBrats,” the sequel to Kevin Smith’s 1995 film “Mallrats.” Although the plan fell through, the mall’s selection highlighted its cultural significance. The comedy band Gnarkill even released a song called “Granite Run Mall in the 80s,” further cementing its place in popular culture.

While the mall may not have become a movie star, its presence in popular culture is undeniable. These cultural references add a layer of nostalgia to the Promenade. For those who grew up visiting the Granite Run Mall, these nods to popular culture remind them of their good times. It’s a way to connect the past with the present, adding a touch of sentimentality to the shopping experience.

The Promenade continues to be a part of the community’s cultural fabric. Whether through events, music, or even almost making it to the big screen, the Promenade is more than just a shopping center; it’s a cultural landmark.

The Economic and Social Impact

The Promenade at Granite Run plays a significant role in the local economy. With its diverse range of tenants and high occupancy rates, the development provides employment opportunities for residents. The influx of shoppers also benefits surrounding businesses, creating a ripple effect that boosts the local economy.

Beyond its economic impact, the Promenade serves as a social hub. It’s a place where people can meet, socialize, and participate in community events. From holiday celebrations to weekend markets, the Promenade offers a variety of activities that bring people together.

The Promenade also makes efforts to be environmentally responsible. The development aims to minimize its ecological footprint with plans for sustainable construction and energy-efficient systems. This commitment to sustainability benefits the environment and sets a positive example for other developments in the area.

In summary, the Promenade at Granite Run is more than just a commercial space; it’s a community asset. Its economic, social, and environmental impacts are far-reaching, making it an integral part of life in Media, Pennsylvania.

Conclusion

The Promenade at Granite Run has come a long way since its days as the Granite Run Mall. Its transformation into a mixed-use development has breathed new life into the area, offering a modern, vibrant space that pays homage to its history. With recent developments on the horizon and strong community backing, the Promenade is poised for growth.

The Promenade is not just a shopping center; it’s a community landmark. It offers a range of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, making it a go-to spot for residents. As it continues to evolve, the Promenade remains rooted in its history, serving as a reminder of the community’s past while looking forward to its future.

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