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Stop Signals

Construction on retail real estate projects is coming to a screeching halt at projects across the country as developers reevaluate proposed centers' economic viability.

In early August, site work on the planned 215-acre open-air center, Bridges at Mint Hill in Charlotte, N.C., came to a halt. Chicago-based General Growth Properties and local partner Childress Klein Properties originally announced plans for the center in June 2005. A series of delays pushed projected completion back to 2009. No new timeline has been announced.

Elsewhere, Memphis, Tenn.-based Poag & McEwen Lifestyle Centers scrapped plans to build Boise, Idaho's first lifestyle center, a 200,000-square-foot, $50 million project. The developer initially had planned to open the center in 2009. Now the project no longer appears on the company's list of new developments on its Web site.

CBRE/Torto Wheaton Research, a Boston-based research firm, estimates that developers delivered 6.3 million square feet of space in those sectors during the second quarter — two-thirds of the planned 9.7 million square feet of space that was supposed to come on-line. “That, to me, signals that some of the projects are being either taken away or delayed,” says Abigail Marks, economist at CBRE/Torto Wheaton.

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