Enhancing the Retail Experience Through Streetscape Detailing

King of Prussia Town Center at the Village at Valley Forge

Landscape Architecture by LandDesign, Inc.
Opened in summer 2016, the King of Prussia Town Center development was designed by the landscape architecture firm LandDesign, Inc. The 20-acre downtown area is part of a 122-acre master planned community with shopping, dining, and housing.

King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, is a suburb 30 minutes outside of downtown Philadelphia and best known over the last half-century as home to the nation's second largest indoor shopping mall. But, a new king in town is changing the retail landscape.

King of Prussia Town Center is a 20-acre outdoor shopping and dining destination. When real estate investment and management firm JBG Companies announced plans for this upscale, experiential town center and Main Street for the 122-acre master-planned Village at Valley Forge mixed-use community, Philadelphia Magazine called it "a risky bet." However, the merchandizing strategy for this destination - focused on dining, and outdoor experiences and events - proved to be what the region was lacking.

LandDesign worked with JBG to create the perfect "sweet spot" between maximizing the retail square footage and designing an extraordinary open space and pedestrian experience that draws people to the town center and makes them feel like part of a community.

There are several water features on the plaza. On the west side, a small (lower intensity) fountain provides visual and audible animation adjacent to the grove (inset). Bubbling fountains are set into the triangular area marked with boulders, though they are not running in this photo. On the east side of the plaza, a larger interactive fountain animates the plaza in the summer months and features a series of jets and stepping stone pools to provide an interactive experience.
Photos: The JBG Companies

The spine of the Town Center is the tree-lined Main Street that provides a pleasant walking experience, animated by a variety of storefronts. Trees include 'Red Sunset' maples, paper birches, eastern redbuds, and 'Maidenhair' trees. The design strategy maximizes the vibrancy of the exterior spaces with outdoor dining terraces, a variety of comfortable seating options, and a sustainable landscape palette selected to provide year-round color and texture complemented by colorful storefront planters featuring seasonal plant material. 

At the heart of the Town Center are two public plazas - the Grove and the Esplanade - that create the feel of a community town square with a variety of gathering options for visitors to enjoy; both sunny spots and shaded nooks to sit and relax, dine and actively play. The adjacent plazas and sidewalks smoothly transition to the street, which can be closed for larger special events, such as a farmer's market, art festivals and concerts, to maximize the adaptability of the space.
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