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Revitalization for Village Mall?

Plans have been in the works for some time to renovate the nearly empty Horsham shopping center.

State Rep. Todd Stephens worked in the movie theater as a teenager. Erin Yealy shopped at Bradlees as a Horsham youngster. Doreen Kelly remembers eating pizza at Roman Delight. 

Once a busy mall, with plenty of draws – from shopping, to food, entertainment and more – the run-down Village Mall now offers more vacant storefronts than it houses. Currently, and a are the only open stores at the strip shopping center, which is located on Blair Mill Road and Moreland Avenue in Horsham.

“It was such a great mall back then,” Willow Grove resident Sally Hendricks said of the site, which was built in the 1970s. “I so wish someone could do something to bring it back. The location seems good to me and there is great parking - it just somehow went downhill.”

Horsham Township Manager Bill Walker said land development plans have been in the pipeline since about 2008. When Carlyle Management Corp., the New York-based property manager of the plaza will move them to fruition is anybody’s guess.

Walker said he anticipates the owner to finish the land develop process this year. If and when that happens, Walker said the “hope” is for new façade improvements at the graffiti-laden mall. When asked if the township had pressured the company to revitalize the eyesore, Walker said, “I don’t think it’s pressure. I think they want to do them.”

In addition to new façade, Walker said the 4-year-old plans call for a new addition on Moreland Road, landscaping, stormwater management, the closure of the entrance by the largest vacant anchor, most recently housed by Walmart. The idea is to have one entrance and one exit, Walker said. Two satellite stores were also part of those plans, he said.

“They may have a couple of tenants lined up,” Walker said.

When reached for comment Thursday, Gerald Simon, CFO of Carlyle Management Corp., said he could not disclose specifics of the planned upgrades.

"It is in process," was all that Simon would say.

Even more recently than the plans from 2008 to revitalize the plaza, Horsham Township Council and the Horsham Zoning Hearing Board last summer.

Horsham resident , who lives across the street from the Village Mall, said he supported that decision.

Wipplinger, 72, owns in downtown Hatboro. He first opened the store in 1983 at the then-thriving Village Mall. Wipplinger said he relocated about six years ago after the then-new management company tried to double his monthly rent from $3,000 to $6,000 per month.

“They basically forced everyone out,” Wipplinger said. “And now you see what happens.”

Like the three dozen locals who reminisced about the mall’s heyday on Hatboro-Horsham Patch’s Facebook page, Wipplinger recalled a time when the Village Mall served as a one-stop shop for “just about everything.”

“When I started there in ’83, the mall was 100 percent occupied by merchants and it was very well-visited,” Wipplinger said, adding that much has changed since then. “Right now it’s just bricks.”

Theresa Katalinas (Editor) March 28, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Alex, They've closed too. There's a sign saying that they will reopen. I'm not sure when that will happen.
Bridget Morawski March 28, 2012 at 02:51 PM
We definitely need some sort of business that could keep teenagers active during the weekend and spare hours - there honestly are not many businesses, if any, that really cater to that large section of our community. Stylish secondhand shops, like the new one in Hatboro, might be an option.
Luvs Koalas March 28, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I was last in Panda Pavilion at the end of February. They told me they were closing for three months for renovations.
Steve March 28, 2012 at 04:24 PM
A Panera Bread would be nice but there won't be a Barnes and Noble and there won't be a Target. There are already two Target's in the area and bookstores are going out of business with the Kindle and Nook. Theresa - I'm not sure if you know the size of the plot but I feel there is too much pavement, maybe reconstructing some of the unneeded parking space?
Pat March 28, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Just another shopping center destroyed by WalMart, Upper Dublin Shopping center will be next with the closing of Super Fresh due to competition of WalMart and Sam's Club. The vacant WalMart at the Village Mall could be a Red Lobster which we do not have in this area.
Tommy Maguire March 28, 2012 at 04:37 PM
That would be one gigantic Red Lobster, Pat. Haha! Great idea though.
Michael Cz March 28, 2012 at 04:57 PM
I am not encouraged by the comment made in the article by their CFO. What exactly is "in the process" mean? I hope the Caryle Group finally takes some action as the site has a lot of potential. I miss the soft pretzels they used to sell there the most! I used to go there mainly for the Movies, Arcade, Pet Store, Records Store, and Foresight Optical. Oh yeah, they used to have a head / smoke shop there, but I just looked out of interest.
Mike Shortall Sr March 28, 2012 at 06:22 PM
One little correction from the article ... It's West Moreland AVENUE, not road. Else people start confusing it with Moreland Road near the Willow Grove Mall.
Tara March 28, 2012 at 06:43 PM
I thought they had a run-off issue causing flooding behind the village mall to Horsham residents? Hopefully as they address filling the vacancies they don't add so much that causes more flooding.
Dena Presley March 28, 2012 at 07:44 PM
I think the Walmart site would be a great spot for a Dave & Buster's (or something similar). Entertainment for the whole family :)
jbt40 March 28, 2012 at 07:51 PM
How about a facility like: http://proehlificpark.com/
Marc Lombardi March 28, 2012 at 08:37 PM
I kind of like that it's relatively abandoned at the moment. Gives me a place to practice my driving on the weekends.
Joe Coffee March 28, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Maybe they could build an airport there and UPS and FedEx could lease it and bring unique one-of-a-kind high paying long term permanent jobs to the area.
Dr. David Myers March 28, 2012 at 09:50 PM
great idea
Scott Johnson March 29, 2012 at 01:56 AM
I was sad to see the dollar theater go, while it was dirty, it was cheap and the arcade next door, helped pass the times in my late teens.
Theresa Katalinas (Editor) March 29, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Thanks Mike. I made the correction.
Heather March 29, 2012 at 02:29 AM
I heard that it's going to be an Ollie's.
Heather March 29, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Isn't there one within 10 minutes?
J.R. sr March 29, 2012 at 12:16 PM
While it may be a good idea to some, I think that this might be too much of a 'niche' market to be very successful......
Holly Knapp March 29, 2012 at 09:10 PM
It would be great to do something for the local kids....an indoor skate and bike park like the one at Franklin Mills Mall. I think that they would do awesome business! Put in some smaller stores and maybe a pizza place.
jen March 30, 2012 at 02:47 PM
WalMart sabotaged this space. They left Jacksonville rd empty for awhile to reopen?? I think the go cart facility would be beneficial if done tastefully, the large any of teenagers in Hatboro have nothing to do. The Cfo should be forced to a specific time line on his plan. This is a great town which seems to be declining
Fran Carroll April 02, 2012 at 04:22 PM
How many anchor stores where there? Woolco. Bradley's. Jefferson Ward (I think). Wal-Mart. Did I miss any? Mr. Tickle was the name of the head shop.
that skateboarder April 06, 2012 at 07:29 AM
YES do something useful for everyone to enjoy.. a possitive and constructive thing for people to do watch and get involved with
that skateboarder April 06, 2012 at 07:33 AM
Build a skatepark! or just give us somewhere to go where we can do it ourselves. myself and many other people would have no problem paying and building our own if it comes down to it
Gena April 13, 2012 at 06:34 AM
i agree. so many kids in the area skate and they cant go anywhere to do it. ever since 360 closed the kids have no where to go and are just getting into trouble. i also think they would make great money doing something with indoor paintball. you have to drive an hour to find anyplace decent to go for that.
Bob April 14, 2012 at 08:09 PM
How about a self storage or private warehouse space?
Bob April 15, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Yeah right, $150,000-$225.000 a month rent for a skate park.
Tara Galagarza June 15, 2012 at 01:13 PM
I like this idea. We need a place where teens can hang out to get them off the street.
Gramps July 02, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Bulldoze the mall. Would make a great park. When did Al Hippinger move ??
AshburnStadium March 01, 2013 at 10:38 PM
It's Al Whipplinger. He moved when they decided to "de-mall" the Village Mall. Am I reading this correctly, that they want to turn it back into an indoor mall like it was during its heyday? Unfortunately, I no longer live in the Bucks-Mont area, but would return in a heartbeat if I could afford it. I'm now stuck in the Hershey area.

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