Planet Fitness coming to Moorestown Mall next spring – Cherry Hill Courier Post

MOORESTOWN – Planet Fitness is coming to Moorestown Mall as part of an ongoing effort to diversify with “health and wellness” tenants, the shopping center’s owner announced Tuesday.

The fitness chain will occupy more than 23,000 square feet when it opens next spring, said mall operator PREIT.

The announcement did not give a specific location for the planned addition to the Route 38 complex.

However, PREIT received township approval in March to build a 25,800-square-foot building in its parking lot near the Lenola Road jughandle. The planning board also backed a proposed 8,000-square-foot building between Lenola Road and a former Macy’s store.

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PREIT also noted a Michaels arts and crafts store is to open in the spring in the former Macy’s.

The mall operator acquired the anchor store for $9 million in 2017, allowing it to find new uses for more than 70,000 square feet of space.

Three new tenants — HomeSense, Sierra and Five Below — have already pushed rents for the site to 19 times their prior level, PREIT said Wednesday.

In addition, the mall’s foot traffic rose 5.7 percent from year-ago levels in the first half of 2019.

The Moorestown center is not one of PREIT’s top performers.

A company report in March ranked the firm in 13th place out of 21 malls, with sales per square foot of $410. That compared to $690 for Cherry Hill Mall, PREIT’s No. 2 performer.

PREIT also owns Cumberland Mall in Vineland, which was ranked 16th with sales per square foot of $387.

PREIT last month reported a net loss of $33.9 million for the year’s first half, compared to a yera-before deficit of $44.5 million.

The firm is diversifying its properites as online shopping erodes traditional retail.

“We want to provide local consumers with more reasons to choose the mall as their go-to destination for activities that suit their lifestyle,” said Joseph Coradino, the firm’s CEO.

Planet Fitness has more than 1,800 locations, most of them owned by independent operators. The chain also is expanding next spring to Liberty Square Center, a Burlington Township complex owned by National Realty and Development Corp.

“We cater to first-time and casual gym goers who may have never belonged to a gym before,” said company representative Becky Zirlen.

She noted the planned locations will offer “state-of-the art cardio and strength equipment, (and) free fitness training,” for all members.

A spa will include “HydroMassage beds, massage chairs, and tanning beds/booths” for members with a PF Black Card, Zirlen said. Those members also can bring a guest for free and use any other Planet Fitness location in the country.

In its announcement Wednesday, PREIT noted its malls have increased square footage for health and wellness tenants by five times since 2012.

The Philadelphia-based firm also noted a trade group’s report that gym memberships are up 2.6 percent from 2017 and by 26 percent since 2009.

PREIT owns 21 malls, primarily in the Mid-Atlantic region. Its other holdings include partial ownership of Gloucester Premium Outlets in Gloucester Township and Fashion District Philadelphia, which is expected to open next month as the successor to The Gallery in Center City.

Jim Walsh is a free-range reporter who’s been roaming around South Jersey for decades. His interests include crime, the courts, economic development and being first with breaking news. Reach him at [email protected] or look for him in traffic.

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