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New York Fashion Retailer 'Century 21' Is New Tenant For Strawbridge's Site

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The struggling Gallery shopping mall in center city has a new anchor tenant.  The mall's owner, along with Mayor Nutter, made the announcement today at City Hall.

"Philadelphia's hot, and the Gallery is well-positioned to take advantage," said Joseph Coradino, CEO of PREIT (Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust), the firm that owns the Gallery, announcing that Century 21 department stores -- a hot New York-based discount clothing retailer -- is coming in October.

"(It's) the first department store to open on Market Street in decades," he noted.

Century 21 -- not related to the realtor -- will take over the first two floors of the former Strawbridge's building, between 8th and 9th Streets on Market, which have been vacant since 2006.

It is the retailer's first store outside of the New York area, and Mayor Nutter is thrilled.

"This is an important first step as we reimagine the landscape of Market East," the mayor said at a press conference in the east portico of City Hall, with that section of Market Street as a backdrop.

Coradino would not reveal the length of the lease, and had no estimate on the number of jobs created.   But he said both he and Century 21 are certain the store will be a hit.

"We believe that Philadelphia is under-retailed and presents a tremendous retail opportunity.  And, obviously, so do they."

Coradino said he is still working to fill the western end of the Gallery complex -- being made vacant later this year by the departure of K-Mart -- with small shops.

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