Retail Beat

PREIT, PaSERS acquire Willow Grove Park Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) and Harrisburg, Pa.-based Pennsylvania State Employee Retirement System (PaSERS) have purchased Willow Grove Park in Philadelphia for $140 million. Financing for the 981,000 sq. ft. regional center was made possible through a commingled pension fund investment managed by Atlanta-based Lend Lease Real Estate Investments Inc. Baltimore-based Legg Mason Real Estate Services arranged the sale.

A 225,000 sq. ft. Macy's will be part of a $25 million renovation to the center, which includes improvements to common areas and a parking garage. Macy's is slated to open in fall 2001.

Under the arrangement between PREIT and PaSERS, PREIT will manage the property and oversee the construction of Macy's and the parking garage. Upon completion of Macy's, PREIT will become the managing general partner.

The center, built in 1982, is anchored by Bloomingdale's, Sears and Strawbridge's, and includes 138 specialty stores and 12 food court vendors.

Imperial Marketplace is under way in San Diego Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Pacific Development Partners LLC and San Diego-based Southeastern Economic Development Corp. have broken ground on Imperial Marketplace.

Slated to open December 2001, developers estimate the 250,000 sq. ft. project, located in San Diego, will cost $27 million. Tenants will include Home Depot, Washington Mutual, a supermarket, several restaurants and additional retail stores.

The architect for the project is SGPA Architecture and Planning, and the contractor is Erreca Contractors, both based in San Diego.

Mills Corp. signs development agreement with Saks Inc. The Mills Corp. in Arlington, Va., and Birmingham, Ala.-based Saks Inc. have agreed to a multi-site development to open Off 5th-Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet stores in five new Mills centers. This relationship between the two companies, which began when Saks opened its first outlet store in Franklin Mills in 1992, is part of a unique leasing arrangement that extends until 2003. The first Off 5th-Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet store of the new agreement will open at Arundel Mills in Baltimore in November.

Locations for the other four stores have not been yet been announced by The Mills Corp.

Aztec Group facilitates $180 million for Calif. mall Miami-based Aztec Group Inc. has originated and placed a $180 million mortgage to refinance the 1.25 million sq. ft. Great Mall of the Bay Area in Milpitas, Calif. The center will also undergo a redevelopment that will add retail and entertainment tenants Off 5th-Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet, Marshalls, Linens 'N' Things, Old Navy Clothing Co., Dave & Buster's and a 20-screen Century theater.

Aztec Group Inc. represented the owners, Great Mall of the Bay Area LP, an affiliate of Hollywood, Calif.-based Swerdlow Real Estate Group Inc.

Universal Studios CityWalk - the sequel opens in California Universal City, Calif.-based Universal Studios has opened Universal CityWalk - the sequel, a 93,000 sq. ft. addition to its original 300,000 sq. ft. project, which opened in 1993.

Included in the new area are an IMAX-3D theater, NASCAR Silicon virtual racing, a rock 'n' roll bowling alley, the Rumba Room and Karl Strauss Microbrewery and Beer Garden. Also opening in the new addition are several restaurants, including Cafe Tu Tu Tango, Buca di Beppo, Shanghai, Mein and Wasabi.

Bennigan's Chicago expansion brings three new locations Bennigan's Grill & Tavern, a division of Plano, Texas-based Metromedia Restaurant Group, is expanding its presence in Chicago with three new locations. The restaurant has acquired two parcels in Deerfield and Glenview, and ground-leased a third in Niles, Ill. Construction of all three, new Bennigan's, each 6,600 sq. ft., is expected to be completed by year-end.

Financial arrangements for Bennigan's were made by Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis.

Concorde Realty acquires Tennessee mall for $32 million Concorde Realty Partners LLC of New York has purchased Stones River Mall in Murfreesboro, Tenn., for $32 million. The 450,000 sq. ft. regional mall is anchored by Dillard's, Sears, JCPenney and Goody's Family Clothing. The center also includes Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, American Eagle Outfitters and Zales Jewelers.

An affiliate of New York-based Citicorp Real Estate Inc. is the seller.

Mockingbird Station will fly to lofty heights Mockingbird Station, a work, live and play, transit-oriented development (TOD), is under construction in Dallas. Virgin Megastore and a 90-screen Angelika Film Center and Cafe will be among the 210,000 sq. ft. of restaurant and entertainment retailers. Also, 250,000 sq. ft. of office space and 242,000 sq. ft. of loft apartments will be part of the mixed-use project. The retail, restaurant and cinema space are slated to open in the fall, with the lofts beginning occupancy in June.

The Virgin Megastore was designed for the base of a 1970s era office building, and the loft apartments will be in a circa 1920 brick-clad warehouse. A plaza links the restaurant and retail pavilion to the Mockingbird Lane light-rail commuter station and to an office building north of the site.

"Mockingbird Station provides a stress-free way for residents to get to work," says Randy Shortridge, Baltimore-based RTKL's senior designer for the project. "They can come home from work, pick up their clothes from the dry cleaner and go out for dinner without ever getting in their car."

Developers include Ken Hughes of Dallas and Denver-based Simpson Housing Group. RTKL designed the project and Dallas-based Selzer Associates served as the project's architect.

Marcus & Millichap arranges sale of Maui shopping center Palo Alto, Calif.-based Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co. has facilitated the sale of the 317,300 sq. ft., $50 million The Maui Marketplace on Maui, Hawaii. The seller was The MacNaughton Group of Honolulu, and the buyer, on behalf of an institutional investor, was Chicago-based LaSalle Investment Management Inc.

The center, built in 1997, includes Eagle Hardware, Sports Authority, Borders Books and Pier 1 Imports.

Edens & Avant acquires centers in Atlanta, Hilton Head Columbia, S.C.-based Edens & Avant has acquired three shopping centers in Atlanta and Hilton Head, S.C. The properties total approximately 530,000 sq. ft. and include Merchants Walk, Marietta, Ga.; McIntosh Plaza, Carrollton, Ga.; and Festival Centre at Indigo Run, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

The centers are anchored by SteinMart, Publix, Target and Wal-Mart.

Developers be aware: new Corps regulations released This month I have some news from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) that may interest you - especially shopping center developers.

In early March, the much anticipated new federal regulations for wetland permitting, Nationwide Permit 39, was released by the USACE. Developers will want to take a look at this new permit, which will replace Nationwide Permit 26 - one of the most frequently used permits in shopping center construction.

According to John Studt, chief of the Corps' regulatory branch, "The changes will benefit the nation's aquatic environment while continuing to authorize projects with minimal adverse effects." However, William Hoffman, manager of environmental issues for the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), disagrees. He says conservative impact estimates include:

* a $300 million cost increase to parties using the permits;

* a potential 30% increase in Corps bureaucracy; and

* a longer waiting period for permit approvals due to the rise in the number of permit applications.

Nationwide Permit 39, which goes into effect June 5, covers residential, commercial and institutional real estate development. Among the eligibility requirements:

* projects cannot result in the fill of more than one-half acre of wetlands, reduced from three acres;

* pre-construction notification must be filed with the Corps if the project will result in the fill of more than 0.1 acres of wetlands;

* the new permit cannot be used in natural resource water designated areas; and

* with few exceptions, the permit cannot be used in a 100-year floodplain.

Jim Jacoby, Chairman, CEO and founder of Atlanta-based Jacoby Development Inc. (JDI), who is involved in many environmental projects, does not foresee any problems with the new regulation. "We have Hilburn Hillestad, our senior vice president of environmental science onboard, so we already have an expert to evaluate," he says. "So from our perspective, it is business as usual."

For additional information regarding permit changes, go to the Corps' Website at www.usace.

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