HomeBensalem TimesNeshaminy Mall up for sale, shoppers express sadness over what used to...

Neshaminy Mall up for sale, shoppers express sadness over what used to be

Owner Brookfield Properties is suggesting a ‘large scale redevelopment’ of the site

Source: JLL

The Neshaminy Mall, a Bensalem staple for the past 50-plus years, is officially up for sale. 

When the facility opened its doors in 1968, and for decades after, it was a bustling hotspot for shopping, dining and entertainment, attracting not only township residents, but locals of neighboring areas who didn’t yet have a mall to call their own. 

However, Neshaminy has been failing to survive the countrywide downward trajectory of malls. Social media is flooded with posts of individuals walking through nearly-deserted malls, Neshaminy included, grieving what used to be. Only 50 percent of its stores are currently occupied, with Boscov’s serving as the sole anchor store after the closing of Macy’s in 2017 and Sears in 2018. 

Brookfield Properties, owner of the 91-acre property, is calling potential buyers’ attention to its accessibility to Route 1 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and the potential for “large scale redevelopment of the site.” 

“The property’s prominent location and excellent positioning within Lower Bucks County presents a unique opportunity to reimagine the site’s programming mix by incorporating multifamily and reimaging the retail merchandising mix with an open air retail development with contemporary retail uses, i.e. grocery, F&B, service-oriented, fitness, etc.,” the company said in its listing. 

It also spotlighted the success of the Boscov’s, which is the fourth most-visited store in the chain, and the nearby restaurants, including Uno Chicago Grill and On The Border Mexican Grill. 

The space is being presented to investors by commercial real estate company JLL “as-is.” 

Source: JLL

There are a few reasons why malls across America are either shuttering their doors, or are on the verge. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, online platforms like Amazon became the go-to shopping option for many. Even when restrictions lifted, people got used to the convenience of having endless items at their fingertips, and not having to leave the house, park in a crowded lot and browse among strangers. 

Plus, while malls used to be popular after school and weekend hangouts for kids and teens, especially during the ‘90s and early 2000s, the next generation isn’t following suit. 

Source: JLL

As news spreads of the Neshaminy Mall’s impending sale and uncertain future, many are expressing nostalgia for its once-vibrant days.

On X, former shopper Jim DeLorenzo wrote, “I was about 6 years old when it opened, and have many happy memories of visiting often, shopping at Strawbridge & Clothier, and always visiting and watching the animated historical diorama display in the courtyard. Memories of days now long gone but oft-remembered.”

He said in a second post, “Growing up in Trenton/Ewing, it was the first mall that wasn’t hours away! My grandmother bought two big sofas at Strawbridge & Clothier on one of our earliest visits — many happy hours on those couches in my childhood. They had this diorama with historical recreations of Philly colonial/revolutionary history that I still think about! If I could only time travel… 1968 or 1969 might be fun again.”

Others, like Harlan Rosen, shared a similar sentiment. Rosen said, “Crazy. Spent a lot of time there growing up, hanging out there with my parents. Sometimes it was just a fun adventure taking the 58 or 20 bus up. The food court was a common hangout spot for the area Deaf community. All of that gone.”

Another former shopper, Rob, posted, “Wow. I grew up and lived in NE Philly till we moved 2 years ago. I was there all the time. My wife and I stopped in there about a yr ago and it was empty — looked like the height of the pandemic. Not surprised but it’s still sad.”

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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