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Voorhees Town Center Walking Tour (CM | 2.0 Pending)
December 7, 2012 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Planning Objectives: Redevelopment and revitalization, Urban/Suburban retro-fit design, affordable housing, economic development.
Voorhees Town Center is a mixed use development consisting of retail, restaurant, office and residential uses; and is the result of the creative and deliberate transformation of a struggling suburban indoor mall. The Echelon Mall opened in 1970 and had a gross leasable area of more than 1.1 million square feet, making it the second largest mall in southern New Jersey after the Cherry Hill Mall. The Echelon Mall thrived until the 1990s, but declined in popularity until the vacancy rate reached nearly 75% in 2005. The mall was located in the center of a residential and commercial area, but did not have major highway frontage. Recognizing the potential to reinvent the center to respond to changed market conditions, the owners of the site partnered with the Township to initiate a redevelopment and revitalization effort. A redevelopment plan was prepared for the site, to encourage and enable the transformation of the site, and it was decided that the Township’s new municipal facilities would be located at the site. The site plan and subdivision were approved in 2006, ground breaking took place in 2007, and the new municipal offices opened in 2011.
Officially renamed Voorhees Town Center, the former Echelon Mall site now includes a mix of retail, restaurant, office and residential uses. The area of the indoor mall has been “right sized”, reduced and rehabilitated to accommodate a mix of shops and services inside without having excessive space to fill, while a complementary mix of shops, restaurants and services along with 425 residential units (including affordable units to assist the Township in meeting its fair share obligation) have been developed adjacent to the mall. The site has been designed so that all of the elements come together as parts of a new town center. A tree-lined, main street “boulevard” connects each aspect of the project and features boutiques, services and a variety of dining options. The reshaping and modernization of the Echelon Mall site is an exceptional example of the potential to reinvent dying suburban malls using traditional design principles and focusing on creating a “sense of place”.
The tour will walk around the Voorhees Town Center site, beginning at the new town hall with a brief presentation of the background and history of the site and the redevelopment initiative. The tour will be led by representatives of the developers as well as the Mayor and Township administrator and will explore progress that has been made, the work that is currently underway, challenges that have been overcome, and where additional opportunities may be realized in the future.
Please RSVP to Leah Furey Bruder at firstname.lastname@example.org
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