Fashion District Philadelphia opens in Center City

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Thursday, September 19, 2019
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Fashion District opens in Center City. Corey Davis reports on Action News at 4 on Sept. 19, 2019.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The ribbon was cut for Fashion District Philadelphia, the new mall at the former site of the Gallery at Market East, on Thursday and there are a number of free events through the weekend to celebrate the opening.

Developers said they envisioned a space that would be accessible and inviting for people to come in and explore retail, dining, and entertainment opportunities.

Heather Crowell of PREIT explained, "For the longest time, you went from the historic district to City Hall without any invitation in, and now we're wide open, we have over 20 new entrances- we used to have three. We turned into a 360-degree project where you can enter from filbert street, numbered streets, and it's much more inviting."

With the main entrance at 9th and Market streets, Fashion District Philadelphia spans three city blocks and is 800,000 square feet. More than 4500 jobs were created total, about half of them were temporary construction jobs. The rest are permanent retail positions.

It was a $420 million project, with developers PREIT and Macerich. Developers worked to make sure Fashion District Philadelphia reflected the city.

They included four local businesses in their Uniquely Philly space, dedicated to supporting Philadelphia's small business at Fashion District: Dolly's Boutique, The Sable Collective, South Fellini and American Hats.

Philadelphia is also reflected in the one million dollar investment of curated art, using local artists.

There are nine installations throughout the property, including one piece that looks like the Liberty Bell from one angle and Ben Franklin from another.

"We're a Philly-based company, and this is our biggest project, so as we sat down at the drawing board, we said we want to be authentic, how do we do that? Right- how do we do that? We want to bring things to Philadelphia that aren't here, but we also want to bring things to Philadelphia that will resonate with the Philadelphia community," according to Crowell.

There are a number of entertainment stops, including Candytopia, which is only here until the end of the year.

A permanent indoor entertainment attraction will open soon, which will include arcades, bowling and karaoke.

"Today we're considering it the beginning and not the end. We've got, over the course of the next year, new additions that we will be announcing over the course of the year, new to market tenants are coming. In November, you'll be able to see a movie here," Crowell added.

Another stop, which is expected to be popular, is City Winery Philadelphia.

City Winery has a wine bar that opens out to the mall floor.

Inside, there's a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and two different-sized performance venues.

Macy Gray and Emmylou Harris are among the upcoming musical acts.

An AMC Movie theater is slated to open in November.