Store closures open new opportunities for York Galleria

Do you shop online? Or in a store?

That`s the question we asked people and many of them had the same answer.

“Online. Easier. Deliver right to your house, prime, 24 hours you get it, can`t beat it,” said Kim Lambert of Mechanicsburg.

It`s that mentality that some say is responsible for big box stores, such as JC Penney, Sears, and most recently The Bon-Ton, being forced to close their doors.

“Consumer spending and shopping habits have changed and evolved in the advent of online shopping and the internet age. And obviously malls were developed originally around these anchor department stores and other niche businesses filling in in-between and that model is just changing based on consumer shopping patterns,” said Ben Chiaro, brokerage advisor of Rock Commercial Real Estate in York.

York Galleria is just one of many malls across the country falling victim to the changing times.

The owner of the mall, CBL Properties out of Tennessee is not giving up that easily.

In an emailed statement to Fox 43, the company says, “While we are still very much in preliminary stages, we are currently evaluating plans for a transformative redevelopment that could encompass both the Sears and Bon-Ton space, dramatically changing the dynamic of the property.”

And Chiaro is helping to spearhead that effort.

“They really want to push the envelope to build in experiential retail, hospitality uses, and other traffic generators that help the smaller specialty shops that remain, but fill in with daily conveniencesThings like fitness centers, movie theaters, other entertainment and hospitality uses that will drive similar traffic that wills hare the co-tendency,” said Chiaro.

That’s already happening at York Galleria.

JC Penney closed its doors at the mall about three years ago, and the 110,000 square foot space is now partially occupied by Gold`s Gym.

For the upcoming open spaces, Chiaro is hoping to take the revitalization effort one step further.

“We`re going to be looking for larger, category killer tenants that will fill the whole floor or even the entire boxes,” said Chiaro.

He declined to comment on what might move into The Bon-Ton and Sears space down the road.

We do know that earlier this year the manager of Springettsbury Township confirmed Penn National has talked to mall managers to discuss the possibility of adding a casino to mall property.