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Old 12-23-2015, 07:52 AM
 
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Also, Voorhees already has BJ's. Costco would never open there.
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Old 12-23-2015, 07:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Leps12 View Post
It's possible that the Friendly's owner got a sweetheart deal to open up at the Town Center, and that's why that was chosen instead of the Carmike (former Ritz) area. Funny that you mention Catelli Duo. As I'm sure you remember, the original Catelli was at Main Street, and then when the VTC opened up, they moved over there. I also am suspecting they got a sweetheart deal to do that, as the township was, and still is, desperate to fill in spaces in their pet project.

The sad thing is that it's pretty obvious that the VTC was designed to try to appeal to the "new generation" and give off a semi-urban/hip vibe, hence the mixing of commercial and (pricey/"luxury") residential establishments together. Not that "lifestyle centers" are ever actually successful at doing that, because they are not real downtowns, but rather glorified strip malls, and thus by the very nature of their structure cannot properly replicate an urban or inner ring suburb vibe. But, they at least seem to THINK that it has a certain appeal that would attract people who like Haddonfield and Collingswood.

Maybe they just are that desperate to fill spaces at this point, but if they think that, of all things, Friendly's is going to help make the VTC a "happening" area, well, they are even more idiotic than I thought. Friendly's is as antiquated and uncool as just about any other restaurant that I can think of. Bad food, bargain-quality ice cream, and if they think that young professionals want to go eat there, boy they really are clueless. Look at Haddonfield and Collingswood as examples, since I already mentioned them. Do you see low-level crappy chain restaurants over there? No, and these are the successful downtowns that people actually enjoy frequenting. Certainly not compared to Haddonfield, but Voorhees has a ton more wealth than Collingswood. If Collingswood can draw people in with classier options, Voorhees should have no problem doing that as well and should not be stooping to putting a Friendly's in their pet project.

Voorhees just "doesn't get it."
Rent is likely less because the space that Friendly's is using at VTC boulevard is inline. The space at the Carmike was a freestanding parcel and likely larger. Maybe the VTC is offering lower rent/ sq.ft for it to be a "sweetheart deal" than the Carmike Ritz plaza, but the tradeoff doesn't seem to add up IMO. I have heard that the Carmike plaza rent is high (relative to other strip malls) because of the movie screens.

Ultimately, sales needs to be there. The article in the Inquirer gave more insight that the Friendly's owner is making money from the menu (even we don't like their food).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leps12 View Post
Voorhees just "doesn't get it."
It's a private entity that owns the mall/boulevard, seeks tenants, has leases with them, and sets the rents. I'm not sure why you think it's a township level pet project.

Even if the township were to get involved in trying to re-purpose a large space (assuming Macy's closes), it's not any different than Cherry Hill agreeing for Mercedes into the former Rickshaw Inn space, when the township owned the land. It's better in my opinion that the town pushes for redevelopment than does nothing.

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Originally Posted by Leps12 View Post
Also, Voorhees already has BJ's. Costco would never open there.
They are 7 miles apart, surprisingly even though the same township. There is a BJ's in Maple Shade and Costco in Mt. Laurel, which is actually less distance between the two. The two chains compete. Costco is actually the better performing chain, so I don't know why it should stand back to BJ's. Anyways, it was just a suggestion. I think whatever suggestion is presented from me, your opinion is nothing will go there and Voorhees or Echelon area sucks, and other towns make a better place to live and/or a better place to do business.

Last edited by marltonguy; 12-23-2015 at 08:29 PM..
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Old 12-25-2015, 09:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by marltonguy View Post
They are 7 miles apart, surprisingly even though the same township. There is a BJ's in Maple Shade and Costco in Mt. Laurel, which is actually less distance between the two. The two chains compete. Costco is actually the better performing chain, so I don't know why it should stand back to BJ's. Anyways, it was just a suggestion. I think whatever suggestion is presented from me, your opinion is nothing will go there and Voorhees or Echelon area sucks, and other towns make a better place to live and/or a better place to do business.
There are more problems than simply the presence of BJ's as to why the Costco wouldn't go there. Again, we can bring this discussion back to site location. As we have when mentioning Wegman's, other malls, etc. Costco is a BIG store and, in order to be successful, they must set up along a major highway that gets a lot of traffic and visibility to that traffic. The Echelon site does not work for that. The only major highway that goes through Voorhees is 73, and that is where the BJ's is. I just could not ever see Costco thinking that putting their store tucked away into small local roads would be a smart decision. If they wanted to do a store in Voorhees, 73 is their only option, and then that would be way too close to the BJ's. I don't even know if there is any space left on 73 in Voorhees for that, honestly.

Costco only has one store in South Jersey, period. Why that is so, when there are more BJ's and Sam's Clubs around the area, and plenty more Costcos in both North Jersey and in PA, there could be several reasons. If they were to ever eventually open a second, I think they would be smarter about where they put it. I would probably think somewhere along 70 or 38 in Cherry Hill, if there is any space left. Either that or, to create more distance from Mt. Laurel, maybe somewhere along 42 or 168 in Gloucester Twp.

The Echelon area does, quite frankly, suck. Because of its location. It's not easily accessible or visible to anyone who doesn't live in the area but is traveling through it. Therefore, its major market is almost exclusively limited to the people who live in Voorhees and Somerdale, and that's problematic for several reasons:
  • The big earners in Voorhees do not live by Echelon, nor do they live in Somerdale. Those with more money to spend are mostly congregated closer to Route 73 and thus more likely to make the trip to the Promenade instead. The only exception would be the developments near VMS and Eastern, and even they are probably not even closer to Echelon than they are 73 but more or less equidistant.
  • Voorhees, and South Jersey as a whole for that matter, is no longer growing at a respectable clip. Camden County in particular is actually LOSING residents now, according to Census data. If more people move into an area, we can have more businesses to serve them to keep up with extra demand. That is not happening in Voorhees or pretty much anywhere else in South Jersey.
  • Perception is reality. Most people who look at Echelon would say that there is no reason to go into that mall, because practically nothing good is there at this point. Sure, maybe people will go to the restaurants on the outside portion for dinner, but shopping is dead there. The vicious cycle ensues.


Voorhees is not a terrible place to live if you are a fairly well-off family. If you have children, you can find a nice house and good schools. But it does seem to be a bad place to do business. It has a track record of projects failing or never getting off of the ground. Main Street was a dud. Echelon has fallen. Remember how they planned to clean up the Superfund site off of Centennial and turn it into a park? All of these years later, it has been cleaned, but where is the park? Never happening. The former Genuardi's location is still vacant 5 years or so after its closing. There are availability signs for office and retail spaces all over the township as they have either closed or moved. The situation is so bad that the township felt it was necessary to launch the Shop Voorhees program to give residents property tax deductions if they spend money at establishments within the township. It's the same principle as an Urban Enterprise Zone, essentially. Give tax relief to the consumers in order to drive up sales volume.


There just seems to be a lot of problems with businesses in Voorhees, especially local businesses. Voorhees really began being built up in the 1970's during a time when the suburban sprawl "American Dream" was at the height of its popularity, especially considering the race riots that had taken place in the cities in the latter half of the 1960's. The way that Voorhees and other towns like it were constructed during this time was in a completely spread out, car-dependent style that prized privacy, not a sense of community. And when you live in an area that does not promote a strong sense of community, you don't feel as much of a connection to your local businesses. What was seen as "old" and "antiquated" at the time Voorhees was getting built up is now cool and desirable again while the Voorhees town model is now the old and antiquated one, and Voorhees is worse off for it. How do they recover and make themselves desirable to the new generation of potential homeowners? Without bulldozing large portions of the town and starting from scratch, I don't see how. Maybe I'm cynical, but it seems readily apparent to me that the older suburbs - the PA suburbs for Philadelphia, and in New Jersey, mostly the North Jersey suburbs closer in to New York City - are the ones that are well-positioned in this day and age and seem to be healthier/more vibrant/hotter/whatever real estate term you want to use, where not only people want to move to, but where unique and local businesses are more willing to set up shop and where there are less commercial vacancies. Unless tastes and preferences change again, I don't see how Voorhees, or for that matter Cherry Hill, Marlton, Mt. Laurel, Medford, Washington Twp., Harrison Twp., East Greenwich, etc. (all of which are seen as respectable "newer" towns with good schools) will remain competitive and attractive to both residents and businesspeople.

Last edited by Leps12; 12-25-2015 at 09:58 AM..
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Old 12-26-2015, 02:39 AM
 
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I for one would love to see an Apple store in the Deptford of even Hamilton mall. Instead of going to A.C or Cherryhill. What would Deptford do if Sears goes out of business what would they do with that big building? I give it credit it's a pretty nice store.

Frendly's food sucks and it's expensive. They have two in Cumberland county one in the mall and outside both stores are badly outdated and need renovations. The one in the Mall god know how it survives you be lucky if they have 5 families in there.
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Old 12-26-2015, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Cherry Hill, New Jersey
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Isn't Costco rumored/supposed to be building a new store near the Garden State Park shopping center in Cherry Hill?
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Old 12-29-2015, 11:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cg41386 View Post
Isn't Costco rumored/supposed to be building a new store near the Garden State Park shopping center in Cherry Hill?
There's been no news about it for years. Here's one of the more recent article I found about it, from back in 2013:

Costco eyes old Garden State Park site - philly-archives

I assume the issues regarding the current owner are still present, although I can't find any information about that. If those issues are still present, I would assume that Cherry Hill would need to use eminent domain to take the land and resell it to Costco.
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Old 12-30-2015, 05:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Leps12 View Post
[*]The big earners in Voorhees do not live by Echelon, nor do they live in Somerdale. Those with more money to spend are mostly congregated closer to Route 73 and thus more likely to make the trip to the Promenade instead.
You haven't been to the ShopRite of Evesham Road area, or where Carmike Cinemas is located? Nice area in eastern Cherry Hill/Voorhees area with nice homes and not "congregated" closer to 73. In fact, closer to VTC than 73. Lucas Lane which is walking distance to VTC also is a decent area with single family homes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leps12 View Post
The former Genuardi's location is still vacant 5 years or so after its closing.
Yeah that's ashame but it might not help that Acme-Safeway merged and maybe Acme doesn't want a competitor thus little interest to sublease to Aldi. The former Bally's gym will become Echelon Fitness, which will open next year presumably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leps12 View Post
There are more problems than simply the presence of BJ's as to why the Costco wouldn't go there. Again, we can bring this discussion back to site location. As we have when mentioning Wegman's, other malls, etc. Costco is a BIG store and, in order to be successful, they must set up along a major highway that gets a lot of traffic and visibility to that traffic. The Echelon site does not work for that. The only major highway that goes through Voorhees is 73, and that is where the BJ's is.
It's not always that simple, that being off a highway in an affluent town, with site having good entrance access, means it will be a good site for tenancy. The former Clover site in Cherry Hill, now partially divided still has a big vacant space where Oskar Huber furniture used to be located. In theory, this is right off a major highway and should be filled. But this plaza has always had major vacancy issues since Acme closed. East Gate Square has vacancy issues around Ross, and Moorestown Mall which probably has one of the best locations of all South Jersey shopping centers isn't that strong of a mall. The former Kmart/Sears/Superfresh plaza is also off 70 in Marlton, and should have attained more interest. As we speak however, I see some demolition of this plaza going on, but retail interest has been weak. For whatever reason, 73 retail activity does well while 70 doesn't, but it seems to taper off past the Target, as the Designers Court plaza is rather weak.

And then, there are successful centers that are not near highways. The Mall in Columbia was also built by the Rouse Company. This center remains a power mall in Columbia, MD, but it has a stronger planned community emphasis through Howard County, than Echelon ever did. It also helps being close to DC. In South Jersey, the BJ's in Maple Shade also isn't off a major highway, but manages to stay around.

Anyways what may be desirable about the Macy's space at VTC is that it's the central space in the center, and there will be large space for redevelopment. The other positive attributes might offset the lack of highway access. 295 is 3 miles away off Burnt Mill Road. From backroads, It's not too far from towns like Haddonfield and it's closer to Deptford, than Centerton/Mt.Laurel area as well. Boscov's will still be there helping the center and there is the restaurant row/boulevard. A lot of people from Cherry Hill and Marlton aren't far and frequent the Voorhees/Echelon area for doctor appointments, PATCO trips, specific restaurants, Carmike or Cinemark movie going, Camden County library and other uses. But, I won't be able to convince you of that, since in your mind, this area isn't a good place to do business or travel to. I don't know if Deptford has suitable open land for a lot more retail growth either.

---

From a coming soon sign, the former Friendly's in front of Carmike will become an Ott's restaurant. It's website doesn't indicate it yet, however. I don't know if the restaurant will be relocating from West Berlin (which isn't that far) or this is a location addition to the chain.

Last edited by marltonguy; 12-30-2015 at 07:17 PM..
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Old 12-30-2015, 07:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by marltonguy View Post
You haven't been to the ShopRite of Evesham Road area, or where Carmike Cinemas is located? Nice area in eastern Cherry Hill/Voorhees area with nice homes and not "congregated" closer to 73. In fact, closer to VTC than 73. Lucas Lane which is walking distance to VTC also is a decent area with single family homes.


Yeah that's ashame but it might not help that Acme-Safeway merged and maybe Acme doesn't want a competitor thus little interest to sublease to Aldi. The former Bally's gym will become Echelon Fitness, which will open next year presumably.



It's not always that simple, that being off a highway in an affluent town, with site having good entrance access, means it will be a good site for tenancy. The former Clover site in Cherry Hill, now partially divided still has a big vacant space where Oskar Huber furniture used to be located. In theory, this is right off a major highway and should be filled. But this plaza has always had major vacancy issues since Acme closed. East Gate Square has vacancy issues around Ross, and Moorestown Mall which probably has one of the best locations of all South Jersey shopping centers isn't that strong of a mall. The former Kmart/Sears/Superfresh plaza is also off 70 in Marlton, and should have attained more interest. As we speak however, I see some demolition of this plaza going on, but retail interest has been weak. For whatever reason, 73 retail activity does well while 70 doesn't, but it seems to taper off past the Target, as the Designers Court plaza is rather weak.

And then, there are successful centers that are not near highways. The Mall in Columbia was also built by the Rouse Company. This center remains a power mall in Columbia, MD, but it has a stronger planned community emphasis through Howard County, than Echelon ever did. It also helps being close to DC. In South Jersey, the BJ's in Maple Shade also isn't off a major highway, but manages to stay around.

Anyways what may be desirable about the Macy's space at VTC is that it's the central space in the center, and there will be large space for redevelopment. The other positive attributes might offset the lack of highway access. 295 is 3 miles away off Burnt Mill Road. From backroads, It's not too far from towns like Haddonfield and it's closer to Deptford, than Centerton/Mt.Laurel area as well. Boscov's will still be there helping the center and there is the restaurant row/boulevard. A lot of people from Cherry Hill and Marlton aren't far and frequent the Voorhees/Echelon area for doctor appointments, PATCO trips, specific restaurants, Carmike or Cinemark movie going, Camden County library and other uses. But, I won't be able to convince you of that, since in your mind, this area isn't a good place to do business or travel to. I don't know if Deptford has suitable open land for a lot more retail growth either.

---

From a coming soon sign, the former Friendly's in front of Carmike will become an Ott's restaurant. It's website doesn't indicate it yet, however. I don't know if the restaurant will be relocating from West Berlin (which isn't that far) or this is a location addition to the chain.
No, not at all. Being along a major highway does not guarantee success but all. Moorestown Mall, as you mentioned, is a great example. That's an easy answer. Why go to Moorestown when Cherry Hill is just a few more miles down the road and is vastly superior? I'm just saying though, looking at where stores like Costco set up, as well as the VAST majority of malls, and you'll see that very few of them aren't along a major highway. That's not by coincidence.

BJ's in Maple Shade is off of King's Highway. While not a major highway in the sense of 70 or 73, it is certainly a more major road than the roads that surround the VTC. It is a state highway, after all.

Columbia, MD isn't quite a fair comparison to say, "Look! This isn't off of a highway and does well!" Unlike Echelon, Columbia's mall isn't surrounded by a glut of superior malls very close by. The closest mall to Columbia is 19 miles away. There are 4 malls (Moorestown, Cherry Hill, Deptford, and The Promenade) all CLOSER than 19 miles from the VTC. Columbia itself is also four times larger than Voorhees in population and continues to grow at a high rate, unlike Voorhees which has stalled in population growth.

Good for Ott's allegedly opening up a new location, whether it is relocating from West Berlin or not. It should be interesting to see how it competes with Applebee's. I think one of them will eventually go, what with them being in the same center and more or less a similar experience, aside from the fact the Ott's sometimes has live music. Applebee's will probably have the price edge though. Ideally, the Applebee's would close and get replaced with something that can then differentiate itself from Ott's.

Does Acme actually own the Genuardi's building? I know of the merger, but the Voorhees store closed before the merger happened, so I don't think it was like Acme bought the building out. Unless Safeway still held the deed until the merger and then sold it to Acme. I don't know. I'm not acute on business law.
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Old 12-30-2015, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
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Ott's stinks. They bought up old Jersey bars and changed them, and not for the better. Their steamed clams were tasteless, white shelled, frozen food service clams. It's New Jersey. They have clams.
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Old 12-31-2015, 07:07 AM
 
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Ott's stinks. They bought up old Jersey bars and changed them, and not for the better. Their steamed clams were tasteless, white shelled, frozen food service clams. It's New Jersey. They have clams.
I agree. I have been to the West Berlin location. I never had any food there, but overall, I was just unimpressed. It is a rather generic local bar/American restaurant with nothing special or unique about it whatsoever. As I said, not an experience too different from Applebee's. But I will gladly take Ott's over Applebee's (and definitely over Friendly's) because:

A: At least it's a local chain, rather than a national chain.
B: They have live music. Voorhees is devoid of a live music bar and could benefit greatly from it, even if it is just mostly confined to local cover bands. It's something.
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