Retail Traffic

School Ties

As high-density development becomes a popular trend, more and more universities are exploring the possibility of building mixed-use projects on their campuses. In the latest example, the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., plans to use a 38-acre site on its East Campus to house the school's administrative facilities plus two million square feet of graduate student and market-rate housing, professional offices and retail space. The university, which still has to work out all the details, has partnered with Rockville, Md.-based developers Foulger-Pratt Cos. and Argo Investment Co. for the project.

Upscale retail chains, including Whole Foods Market, have been dotting college campuses. In addition to grocers, campus-oriented developments provide a good fit for large bookstores, casual apparel chains, fast casual restaurants and various service providers, including wireless phone stores and health-oriented stores, according to Jeff Green, president of Jeff Green Partners, a Mill Valley, Calif.-based consulting firm.

Green cautions that large-scale commercial development won't work on every college campus. The best candidates are prestigious private schools, where students are likely from well-heeled families and have deep pockets with the discretionary income to spend. On the other hand, state-run institutions, where students are more likely to have taken out loans and are working their way through school may not be as financially appealing.

Schools that have been using campus space in creative ways include the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. Last year, Penn teamed up with Houston-based Hanover RS Limited to complete a $100 million mixed-use complex in its University City. The complex features 295 luxury apartments and 26,000 square feet of retail space. The College of William & Mary is in the midst of building New Town Williamsburg, a 365-acre mixed-use community that will combine 1,000 homes with 500,000 square feet of office space and 300,000 square feet of retail and restaurants. The project, the result of a joint venture between the Endowment Association of the College of William & Mary and developer C.C. Casey Ltd., Co., will be completed sometime in 2018.

In addition, the University of Connecticut, in Storrs, Conn., will break ground this year on Storrs Center, a $165 million, 49-acre mixed-use development across the street from its main campus. When completed, Storrs Center will include 800 residential units, 200,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, up to 75,000 square feet of office space and between 5,000 and 25,000 square feet of community space.

Commercial developments on the sites of college campuses have been gaining in popularity because they allow schools to raise their revenue streams while also providing steady demand for the projects' residential and retail components, according to Roy Higgs, CEO and managing partner with Development Design Group Inc., a Baltimore-based planning, architecture and design firm. One of the projects Development Design Group is currently working on is College Row, a 114,620-square-foot mixed-use redevelopment at Franklin & Marshall College, a four-year private school in Lancaster, Pa.

“Many of these universities are well located, they have a high visitor component because of the students' families, plus you've got the increasingly higher spending power of the student body itself,” Higgs says. “It's a combination of competition for both students and their dollars.” Median household income within a one-mile radius of U. Conn., for example, is $86,348, according to Pitney Bowes Business Insight, a Newport Beach, Calif.-based consulting firm. That puts the market 79 percent above the national average.

DDR MS Scholarships

Developers Diversified Realty announced it will contribute $120,000 in scholarships to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to the top 10 student applicants throughout the United States. The scholarships, established to help those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) or the child of those diagnosed with the disease pursue a full-time college or technical school education, will be awarded over the next four years. One recipient is Brittany Hower. Hower, a June 2007 high school graduate whose mother lives with MS, will attend Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Hower plans to pursue a degree in nursing.

Reis links to Reuters

Reis Inc.'s national commercial real estate research and data will be available via Thomson Reuters Datastream. The agreement will allow Reis subscribers to view historical and current U.S. rents, vacancy, construction and absorption trends. The program is intended to heighten Reis's visibility abroad. The alliance comes when overseas interests in the U.S.'s commercial real estate market has been bolstered by favorable exchange rates and bargain hunting as transaction prices fall. Thomson Reuters subscribers, including analysts, fund managers and economists around the world are expected to find the data valuable.

Search Catylist

Catylist has added a scenario-based search engine to its commercial real estate information exchange for brokers to showcase their properties. In addition to brokers, investors, property managers and tenants use Catylist to market and search for commercial real estate. The enhanced system allows users to fine-tune their searches based on specific criteria through the Catylist Network, which consists of 35 locally operated commercial information exchanges in addition to Catylist's National Commercial Marketplace. Its instantaneous search results provide users with an efficient means to quickly identify properties. The online display options have been updated to include an expanded map and view area. Advanced mapping and aerial tools feature Google maps, Google Street View and Microsoft's Virtual Earth Bird's Eye.

Citadel's Child Search

Citadel Outlets has teamed up with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at its three outlet shopping centers: Citadel Outlets, Outlets at Conroe and Outlets at Hillsboro. To commemorate National Missing Children's Day, on May 22, Citadel Outlets posted hundreds of photos of missing children from California and Texas. The LED billboards displayed the faces of 300 missing children along Interstate 5 in Los Angeles and Interstates 45 and 35 in Texas (near both Conroe and Hillsboro). The boards read “Have You Seen This Child?” along with information phone number viewers could call. The company estimates more than 150,000 commuters in Los Angeles saw the photos at Citadel Outlets. Meanwhile, an estimated 155,000 drove by the Outlets at Conroe and an 110,000 passed by the Outlets at Hillsboro.

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