Retail Traffic

Heard On The Floor At ICSC Convention

One of the more creative concepts that a handful of developers are floating is home furnishing centers. California-based Birtcher Development LLC is hunting for opportunities to build centers that would be dominated by chains like Ethan Allen. The demand for furnishings is being generated by the single-family housing boom, which still shows few signs of slowing (on Tueday, the National Association of Realtors reported a new record for existing home sales in April). Markets like Dallas, Phoenix and Las Vegas remain likely targets. Architects DFD CornoyerHedrick are also bullish on the concept and have a few projects in the works in the Phoenix metro area. … General Growth Properties Inc. has unveiled a new program—GGP Platinum—aimed at the luxury segment. Not unlike Macerich’s Luminati initiative, GGP is putting 19 top properties, such as the Fashion Show Mall and The Grand Canal Shoppes in Las Vegas, into the program. It hopes to be able to use the program to build better relationships with luxury tenants….Casto, one of the largest remaining private developers, has 5 million square feet in its development pipeline, much of it focused in the Southeast through its lifestyle center division. One of its more intriguing projects will be the Speedplex, which will be built at the Daytona Speedway and be the new home office of NASCAR in addition to having themed retail….Elle magazine and Entertainment Weekly have signed on as sponsors of the fashion and entertainment areas, respectively, of Mills’ Meadowlands Xanadu. Displays promoting the magazines and their advertisers will be featured throughout the space, and they will also provide entertainment such as fashion shows and concerts….For Hire: Director of Redevelopment/Construction. Paul Lewis of Specialty Consultants in Pittsburgh says the boon in retail redevelopment has made experienced individuals in that field hot. In fact, some redevelopment specialists are getting salaries of $250,000 or even more; that’s up from $125,000 to $150,00 three years ago, he says….On the subject of personnel, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting in Charlotte, N.C. promoted Raleigh Cline to the new position of head of the architectural firm’s mixed use/marketplaces unit. This represents Little’s commitment to more mixed-use projects, says Bruce Barteldt Jr., national studio principal… Erwin J. Greenberg Commercial Corp. has hired three former Rouse employees: Kim Potember, director of development and John Hess, who will be responsible for leasing. Also from Rouse is Gustavo Arango who will assist Potember and attorney Donna Sills….Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn said at a party that at his brand-new Wynn Las Vegas resort that developing retail real estate is not that different from building a casino. “We are all pretty much in the same boat,” said Wynn at the event sponsored by Retail Traffic, National Real Estate Investor and Active International. “We are all trying to create structures that are unique; something that is better than the other’s guy stuff.” Also, retail developments and casinos are now just more than places to shop or gamble. They are all about entertainment, he said… Epicenter, an affiliate of the Gordon Group, announced its new concept for bringing online shopping to the mall. It proposes to take dead mall anchor space and provide a place for consumers to see the wares of e-tailers in the flesh. They can then order merchandise on the spot. Working with Glimcher Realty Trust, Epicenter hopes to convert a soon-to-be dark anchor space at the Polaris Fashion Mall in Columbus, Ohio, into a 180,000 square-foot-marketplace of about 70 Internet retailers. “It’s like a three-dimensional Web site,” says Jay Valgora, a principal with Walker Group, the designer of the Epicenter site.

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