Retail Traffic

GULF STATES INTELLIGENCE

A former 85,000-square-foot Kmart in Hoover, Ala., outside Birmingham is being converted into a retail center called Riverchase Crossing (below). Michael's, an arts and crafts store now located behind the Kmart is moving to the new new site. Birmingham's Crawford McWilliams Hatcher Architects designed the project, which will include three retail bays and possibly an adjacent 5,000-square-foot retail center where Kmart's outdoor centers used to be…Bass Pro Shops plans a 150,000-square-foot store, including a boat showroom and equipment for fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities, in Denham Springs, La., in Livingston Parish, next to Interstate 12. The development, won away from Baton Rouge and Ascension, both of which wanted the store in their cities, will be built on 75 acres and will include another 200,000 square feet of restaurants and retail. A hotel is also planned…The City of Leeds, Ala., outside Birmingham, is heavily lobbying for a Bass Pro Shop. The county is even prepared to invest in construction of the giant outdoor equipment store, according to the Birmingham Business Journal. “A man asked if the county can put up $1 million to $1.5 million to help the deal,” said Larry Langford, Jefferson County Commission president. “I told him, ‘Yes we can.’ Just like that,” he told the paper, snapping his fingers…Call it the Geoffrey loophole: Louisiana, which is demanding more taxes from Toys “R” Us Corp. and Gap Inc., came closer to collecting a total of $1.8 million from the firms in December when two judges sided with the state in challenges to what the state alleges is a tax dodge. The dispute, according to The Times-Picayune newspaper, centers on Geoffrey Inc., a Toys “R” Us subsidiary named after the retailer's giraffe mascot. The Delaware-incorporated unit, which collects royalties for trademarks and rights, does not pay taxes in Louisiana. The state thinks it should. Now, the state also is pressing claims against affiliates of Home Depot, Marshall's, Wendy's, Wal-Mart and others for similar practices. “The Geoffrey scheme…is a cruel attempt to distort reality and to take from the state between 30 to 50 percent of the profits this company is making,” said attorney Jack Alltmont representing Louisiana…Old Agency Square at Colony Park (shown below), Mississippi's first lifestyle center, is now set to open in the fall of 2005, a year later than originally anticipated as developer Mattiace Properties Inc. lines up tenants. The 500,000-square-foot, $70 million project is designed by architects Dean and Dean.

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