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Shoppers Pack Fashion District Philadelphia In Center City To Celebrate Grand Opening

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The wait is over! The space once known as The Gallery in Center City has been transformed into the Fashion District Philadelphia and is officially open.

Ribbon-cutting, confetti and cheers -- along with Temple University's marching band -- were all signs of the Fashion District Philadelphia's grand opening in Center City.

"Oh, it's better than ever, I'm glad they brought more stores out here," shopper Ruby Atikson said.

After four years of construction, Mayor Jim Kenney and developers welcomed hundreds of people outside of the mall.

"Market Street has always been home to many businesses which attract both residents and businesses alike. Now, the Fashion District is helping to redefine this corridor's future," Kenney said.

Many shoppers lined up along Market Street outside of H&M for hours, hoping to cash in on some free $20 to $300 gift cards.

On the inside, live music serenaded gusts, like Bill Harth and Sharon Ippolito. The engaged couple used to shop here decades ago when the space was the Gallery Mall.

"It's nice to share it with somebody that is special in your life and it's really great," Ippolito said.

The four-level shopping and entertainment space, which spans three blocks on Market Street, is expected to bring more than 4,500 jobs.

SEPTA riders can now walk directly into the halls and food court. While most businesses, both locally owned and big box stores, opened their gates Thursday, others like a new AMC movie theater and Round 1 Bowling and Amusement will open in November.

The shopping district will feature popular retail stores and dining options and for the next few months – a sugary wonderland.

CBS3's Pat Gallen checked out Candytopia this morning to give us the inside scoop about the sweet attraction.

Fashion District Philadelphia is open until 8 p.m. today.

To view the shopping mall's daily hours, click here.

CBS3's Chantee Lans contributed to this report. 

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