In a project that shows how shopping centers are evolving, a 111,000-square-foot Wegmans market is set to open at 7 a.m. Sunday as the centerpiece of a $100 million development in Glen Mills, Delaware County.
The project, to be built in two phases on the 38-acre site where Route 202 and Route 1 meet, will house six other buildings besides Wegmans, and will be called Brandywine Mills.
Peter Miller, president of Carlino Commercial Development of West Conshohocken, which is financing the project, said centers are focusing more on services than clothes. "There is a lot of food, medical, grocery, restaurant, and some service with banking and an AT&T, and fewer soft goods retailers," Miller said. "This is what this center is about, not fashion.
"Tenants find it attractive to locate near a Wegmans due to the number of trips it generates and the quality of shopper it attracts," Miller added.
Real estate analyst Garrick Brown at DTZ said the shopping center represents a new norm. "Now, it is very rare to see apparel going into community centers," he said.
This store is No. 88 for family-owned Wegmans Food Markets Inc., of Rochester, N.Y. Seven are in New Jersey and 17 are in Pennsylvania, with one planned for Lancaster.
Wegmans has hired 525 full- and part-time workers to staff the Glen Mills store, which includes the Pub, a full-service restaurant and bar, and Nature's Marketplace, offering natural and organic foods to capitalize on a fast-growing sector.
Mitchell Dever, 19, of West Chester, was among those hired to work part time in the Market Cafe. "The store's awesome," Dever said as he polished trays in the prepared foods section. "I am very happy to be here, given the number of applicants they had."
A second building will have MOD Pizza and Heartland Dental, both to open in December.
A vast chunk of a 20,000-square-foot building that faces Route 202 will be a 13,000-square-foot state liquor store, to open around Christmas. Other cotenants in the building are Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union and Sally Beauty, both opening early next month.
Zoe's, a casual Mediterranean restaurant, opens in January.
In a fourth building, a Hair Cuttery and Starbucks will open before Christmas, and a Chipotle is coming Jan. 15.
Vitamin Shoppe, Brandywine Nails, AT&T, Frankford Cleaners, and a Sleep Number bed store will go into a fifth building. All are slated to open in late December or early 2016.
A 40,000-square-foot building will have a PetCo opening in the spring. Nemours, a children's hospital based in Wilmington, will open an office there in January.
Miller said there could be an additional building with a bank or restaurant.
"We choose locations that give people access to more services, and that helps us provide more care to children that we serve," said Steven Maurer, spokesman for Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Drew Stanley, chief strategy officer at the Franklin Mint, said the credit union will close its branch at the Village at Painters Crossings Shopping Center in West Chester on Jan. 9 and open the new one Jan. 11 at Brandywine Mills.
"We anticipate it will draw from Chester and Delaware Counties in Pennsylvania, and northern New Castle County in Delaware," he said. "We feel this new location is a destination shopping center."