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FRACKVILLE, PA-Steve & Barry’s has signed a lease for 85,000 sf at Schuylkill Mall. It plans to open its newest superstore prototype unit in the 726,000-sf mall at the intersection of I-81 and Rte. 61 in October.

This lease affirms the Port Washington, NY-based apparel retailer’s aggressive growth plan, which calls for 70 new stores this year. Known for deep discounts of between 50% and 90% in comparison with apparel sold in department and specialty stores, the company now operates from approximately 200 locations in 33 states.

Jerry Johnson and Cathy Agnew of Plymouth Meeting-based Fameco Real Estate represented the mall owner, Empire Schuylkill LP, an entity of Philadelphia-based Empire Realty, in the lease negotiations. A Fameco spokeswoman tells GlobeSt.com that the Steve & Barry’s lease takes occupancy in the center to 91%. The other anchors are Kmart, Sears and Bon-Ton.

The value of the lease is undisclosed. A second-quarter retail report from the Philadelphia office of Marcus & Millichap says effective retail rent rates in the Greater Philadelphia area are expected to increase 3.6% this year versus 2006. The average effective rate for the area is forecast at $18.32 per sf by year-end.

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