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CHERRY HILL, NJ-Nordstrom officials have signed a letter of intent to open a new two-level, 144,000-sf department store at Cherry Hill Mall here. The new store will be the centerpiece of a major makeover of the 45-year-old, 1.3-million-sf Cherry Hill Mall, the plans for which were unveiled here yesterday by the mall’s owner, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust.

“We are excited to be part of Cherry Hill Mall,” Erik Nordstrom, president of stores for the Seattle-based Nordstrom Inc. said at yesterday’s announcement. “As good as it is today, we feel fortunate to be part of the redevelopment that will take it to a new level.” Ron Rubin, PREIT’s chairman/CEO, described Nordstrom as, “one of today’s highest quality retailers.”

The new Nordstrom will rise on the site of the shuttered Strawbridge’s department store, which will be razed to make way for the new construction. It’s currently scheduled to open in spring 2009. And according to plans unveiled yesterday by Rubin, PREIT’s redevelopment plans for the property include an additional 120,000 sf of new space, much of which will be a “restaurant row” along the adjacent Route 38. According to published reports, confirmed by PREIT officials, the company recently paid $1.5 million for a liquor license to facilitate the eateries.

Also part of the plan are new Crate & Barrel and Container Store units that PREIT will build on a site that’s currently in use as a parking lot for the mall. To replace the lost parking spaces, PREIT plans to construct a multi-level parking structure. Finally, much of the existing mall, which has a current tenant roster of 165, will get a design and décor makeover.

Cherry Hill Mall rolled into the Philadelphia-based PREIT’s holdings in early 2003 when the firm bought a 49% share of a six-mall, Philadelphia/South Jersey portfolio from the Rouse Co. The other South Jersey malls are Moorestown and Echelon. PREIT subsequently bumped its share of the properties to 73%, and as reported by GlobeSt.com, acquired the remaining 27% share from now-former partner New Castle Associates in mid-2004.

And in October 2005, also as reported by GlobeSt.com, PREIT refinanced Cherry Hill Mall with a new $200-million first mortgage. The funding was provided by Prudential Mortgage Capital and Northwestern Mutual.

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