COURT AT KING OF PRUSSIA
West Delkalb Pike / US 202 and Goddard (Mall) Boulevard
Montgomery County (Town of Upper Merion), Pennsylvania
Greater Philadelphia's COURT AT KING OF PRUSSIA was originally conceived as an upscale counterpart of KING OF PRUSSIA PLAZA (1963). The COURT complex was built on a 30 acre tract, located adjacent to, and northeast of, the existing KING OF PRUSSIA PLAZA mall.
The dual shopping center site was located 15.5 miles northwest of Center City Philadelphia, in an unincorporated section of Montgomery County's Town of Upper Merion. The area had taken its named from the King of Prussia Inn, a local tavern dating to 1769. Said tavern had been named in honor of King Frederick II of Prussia (1712-1786).
The Budco Valley Forge Drive-in, which had operated at the COURT AT KING OF PRUSSIA site since the mid-1950s, was demolished in the mid-1970s. A portion of said site was used for a freestanding structure housing a 1-level (100,000 square foot) Best Products and (57,000 square foot) Levitz Furniture.
Construction of the COURT AT KING OF PRUSSIA mall commenced in early 1980. The 2-level, fully-enclosed complex, developed by the Philadelphia-based Kravco Investments Company, was dedicated with a lavish celebration held on August 2, 1981.
Singer-actress-comedienne Carol Channing officiated and cut the ceremonial, rhinestone-studded, ribbon. Fashion luminaries Bill Blass, Calvin Klein and Oscar de la Renta were on hand, with music provided by the Bainbridge Brass Quintet.
COURT AT KING OF PRUSSIA enveloped 902,000 leasable square feet and contained 125 stores and services. It was anchored by a 3-level (248,000 square foot), New York City-based Bloomingdale's, 3-level (210,000 square foot), New York City-based Abraham & Straus, and a 3-level (256,000 square foot), Newark, New Jersey-based Bamberger's.
Charter inline stores included Brookstone, American Vision, Spectrum Showcase and Henry Birks & Sons Jewelers.
The Bamberger's store was rebranded by its Macy's parent company on October 7, 1986. Later in the same month, Abraham & Straus sold the lease of their COURT AT KING OF PRUSSIA store as part of a 2-store retail retreat from Pennsylvania.
Philadephia-based Strawbridge & Clothier took over the building in 1987 and gutted its interior, leaving only escalators and elevators intact. A 3-story atrium area was installed along with new walls and floors. The new Strawbridge's was dedicated March 7, 1988.
The store was shuttered on January 27, 1999. At first, a 20-screen multiplex was planned for its vacant area. This idea was abandoned. The space was renovated into the 11-store Pavilion At King of Prussia mall within a mall. It opened in October 2001, featuring Borders Books, Morton's Chicago Steakhouse and Cosi Sandwiches.
Meanwhile, the freestanding Best Products, built on the site of the old Valley Forge Drive-in, had been knocked down. It was replaced by a 1-level (112,000 square foot) Costco, which was dedicated October 9, 1997.
Indianapolis' Simon Property Group established an 80-percent share in Kravco Investments in late 2003. In November 2011, Simon announced an expansion of the KING OF PRUSSIA malls which would physically connect them via a 40-store structure. This was to encompass 140,000 leasable square feet and include an "upscale Dining Pavilion".
Construction got underway in early 2013. With the completion of the project, in late 2016, the merged malls encompassed approximately 2,902,000 leasable square feet and contained over 450 stores and services. The complexes were renamed, collectively, as KING OF PRUSSIA MALL.
"Court At King of Prussia" article on Wikipedia
http://www.movie-theatre.org / Mike Rivest
A full article for Philadelphia's KING OF PRUSSIA PLAZA may be found in the PHILADELPHIA MALLS archive on the MALL HALL OF FAME site.