COURT AT KING OF PRUSSIA
West Delkalb Pike / US 202 and Goddard (Mall) Boulevard
Montgomery County (Town of Upper Merion), Pennsylvania
Conceived as an upscale counterpart to the middle market KING OF PRUSSIA PLAZA (1963), suburban Philadelphia's COURT AT KING OF PRUSSIA was built on a 30 acre tract, located adjacent to, and northeast of, the KING OF PRUSSIA PLAZA complex. The shopping hubs were situated 15.5 miles northwest of Center City Philadelphia.
A section of Goddard Boulevard, separating the two sites, was diverted southwest to accommodate the new COURT complex. This leg of the thoroughfare, renamed as a portion of Mall Boulevard, was routed through a tunnel. This passed underneath a parking deck built between the PLAZA and COURT malls.
The Valley Forge Drive-in, which had operated in the northeast section of the COURT AT KING OF PRUSSIA site since the mid-1950s, had been demolished in the mid-1970s. Its spot had been taken by a freestanding structure housing a 1-level (100,000 square foot) Best Products and (57,000 square foot) Levitz Furniture.
Construction commenced at the COURT mall site in early 1980. The 2-level, fully-enclosed complex, developed by the Philadelphia-based Kravco Investments Company, was dedicated with a lavish celebration held 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 also on hand, with music provided by the Bainbridge Brass Quintet.
COURT AT KING OF PRUSSIA enveloped 902,000 leasable square feet and one hundred and twenty-five 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. Inline stores and services 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 two-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 January 27, 1999. At first, a 20-screen multiplex was planned for its vacant area. This idea was soon abandoned. The space was renovated into the eleven-store Pavilion At King of Prussia, which opened in October 2001. This new mall within a mall featured 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 eighty percent share in Kravco Investments in late 2003, which took in the KING OF PRUSSIA PLAZA and COURT AT KING OF PRUSSIA properties.
In November 2011, Simon announced an expansion of the KING OF PRUSSIA malls which would physically connect them via a forty-store structure. This was to encompass 140,000 leasable square feet and include an "upscale Dining Pavilion". Construction got underway in January 2013.
With the completion of the project, possibly in 2016, the merged malls will encompass approximately 2,902,000 leasable square feet, with a retail roster of over four hundred and fifty stores and services. The structure will be known, henceforth, as KING OF PRUSSIA MALL.
"Court At King of Prussia" article on Wikipedia
http://www.scribd.com (Suburban Philadelphia Movie Theaters and Drive-ins / 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.