Interview with Mayor Bernie Platt regarding Cherry Hill Mall renovations

Darby Festa ('13)/ For Eastside

In 2007, the Cherry Hill Mall underwent numerous renovations funded by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), adding venues such as Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters and several restaurants including Seasons 52. The following is an interview with Mayor Bernie Platt of Cherry Hill about the rationale behind the transformation.

Q: What was the motivation behind altering the retail profile in the Cherry Hill Mall to include higher end stores?

A: The motivation was to provide a central shopping center for the people of South Jersey and Pennsylvania, so they wouldn’t have to drive to King of Prussia to shop at higher end stores.

Q: Do you anticipate that the new retail structure of the mall will attract more shoppers?

A: There’s no question. It already has. And it’s been a huge success. As a matter of fact, Nordstrom, which is the linchpin of the expansion of the mall, is doing much better than…expected.

Q: Did the success of the Promenade have an effect on the upgrades?

A: I don’t believe it had a tremendous influence. I’ve been looking at the mall for many years to make it better because it was the central place to shop in South Jersey in the 60s and 70s. Now we have regained that pre-eminence.

Q: Is there data to support the effects the alterations have had on the revenue for Cherry Hill Township?

A: We’ve had an excess of revenue for the mall and that’ll increase our revenue tremendously.  We don’t get anything from the sales that occur inside the mall. The only revenue we get is from the assessment. And that, of course, is going to be a big number.

Q: With the current economic conditions do you think the addition of higher end establishments was wise?

A: It’s proved to be very wise. Not only for South Jersey, but when you walk around and look at the license plates of the cars there, you’ll see some from Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. Cherry Hill is the center of shopping today. That’s what I was hoping for and that’s what we got.

Q: What future plans do you have for the mall?

A: It’s not the future plans I have, it’s the plans that PREIT has. And they haven’t shown me anything. I can safely say that they are looking for another anchor store. Three names have been thrown out to me, Bloomingdale’s, Saks, and Neiman Marcus.