The Fashion District Experience. Video by Dani Long.

The Gallery has just received a $420 million makeover. The Gallery has been a trademark of Center City Philadelphia since 1977. The once beloved Philadelphia landmark is experiencing a rebrand as the Fashion District, in hopes to be a much more vibrant, flashy, and upscale mall.

The Bridgette Mayer Gallery shows various photos and paintings. Photo taken by Dani Long.

When the Gallery started to fade into irrelevance, it’s anchor stores started to become less and less attractive, with K-Mart even being one at a point in time. Many thought the Gallery had deteriorated into a lifeless chunk of space in center city, even having offices start to occupy the upper floors where stores once were. In 2015 the city decided it was time to revamp the once thriving shopping center.

Another part of the fashion district. Photo taken by Dani Long.

The goal of this renovation is not to just bring a surge of energy back to Market Street, but keep it there long after the Fashion District opens. The new structure includes a large 70 foot glass cube shaped facade at the entrance to the mall, and digital billboards in the near future. This is to allow the mall to have a much more attractive and inviting entrance than its predecessor, in turn attracting a younger crowd. For SJU students, it’s about a 25 minute trip by car, but is also accessible via the SEPTA train, taking Overbrook station to Jefferson station, and just a short two minute walk afterwards.

Escalator to Fashion District. Photo taken by Dani Long.

The new Fashion District currently has 37 stores available. These include the likes of Century 21, Hollister, and Nike and Columbia factory stores. The plan is to eventually add 11 more stores to the mix, making the supposed total of 48 stores. It also has 12 dining options at the moment, Chick-Fil-A and Philly Pretzel Factory being among them. That number will eventually expand to 22, including a Häggen Dazs location. A movie theater and a bowling alley will also eventually be implemented into the massive project.

Entry to the Fashion District. Photo taken by Dani Long.

All of these amenities cost about $420 million dollars to put together. The hope is that the revitalization of the Gallery to the Fashion District will add a more affluent, energetic vibe to the city, and attract not just those who live downtown, but those living on the outskirts and suburbs of Philadelphia as well. For those looking for an easily accessible, new, and lively experience in center city, the Fashion District is certainly worth paying a visit to.  

The Jefferson Street SEPTA Station still has the Fashion District under the name “The Gallery”. Photo taken by Dani Long.

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