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The New Orleans revitalization effort was the main topic of conversation at the Urban Land Institute's fall meeting in Los Angeles in November. ULI will assist The Bring New Orleans Back Commission, led by Mayor Ray Nagin, in developing a rebuilding vision. Other sessions explored a variety of retail topics. Some random notes: Westfield America Inc. is considering adding more than retail to developments on the drawing board and could announce a mixed-use project soon, said Kenneth Wong, president, at a session on retail consolidation and potential redevelopment of closed department stores. In response to a query, Wong also questioned whether investment banks could be great retail developers. “It's dangerous to have non-merchants heading up retail. “You have to have exciting reasons for consumers to visit.”…Limited lease pop-up stores are becoming “temporary guerrillas” for Caruso Affiliated Co., according to Linda Berman, vice president, strategic brand development. At Caruso's The Grove in Los Angeles, for example, Turner Classic Movies racked up sales in an empty space before American Girl moved in. Landlords who don't think out-of-the-box risk turning into “blandlords,” she said.…Forest City Development California Inc. CEO Brian Jones expects few enclosed malls in the next few years. “Centers will be bespoke — tailored to the community,” he said. At a panel on retail Main Streets, Jones also noted that if he could do one thing differently at Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., it would be to scatter restaurants throughout the giant mixed-use development, rather than building one big food court. …The Related Cos. pegs the cost of its 3.8 million-square-foot Grand Avenue Project in downtown L.A. at $1.8 billion. With hopes of creating a new regional center, the development will include retail, restaurants, entertainment, housing, a hotel and parks.

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