Partial demolition of Fairgrounds Square Mall should begin next spring

The owner of the Reading Fairgrounds Square Mall in Muhlenberg Township has announced redevelopment plans for the property that will include demolishing about 80 percent of the existing mall.

“The Fairgrounds Square Mall is a key property along the 5th Street Corridor and is too important to leave in its current condition. Based on input from community and business leaders, we believe this is the best approach,” said John Mulherin, vice president of government relations for Hull Property Group, the property’s owner.

The Boscov’s department store at the mall will be among the portions that will remain.

In the release, Jim Boscov, chairman and CEO of the department store chain, spoke in favor of the plan.

“Our Boscov’s store and Farmers Market locations adjacent to the mall property will benefit from the removal of the failed buildings. Hull Property Group has a proven track record of improving failed mall assets and I look forward to what they have planned for the Fairgrounds Square Mall property,” he said.

The developer said construction won’t likely begin before spring of next year because of the need to obtain necessary permits.

“This is a complicated demolition project due to the design and permitting required to create new facades for the anchor tenants remaining on the site,” said Rob Johnson, construction director for Hull.

The Hull Property Group is based in Augusta, Georgia and has properties in 14 states. The Fairgrounds Square Mall is its only Pennsylvania retail property.

Writer Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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