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CLEVELAND - Mark your calendar for the second annual Real Estate Management Technology Conference (REMTEC) June 26 and 27. REMTEC explores the latest technologies for leveraging the power of real estate management information.

Sponsored by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers (NAREIM); Cleveland-based Management Reports International; Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp.; and New York-based Deloitte & Touche, as well as National Real Estate Investor and Shopping Center World magazines, the conference will be held at the ClevelandMarriott Downtown at Key Center.

Wireless technology, telecommunications, e-commerce, applications hosting and thin-client computing will be among the topics discussed.

More information is available at or by calling the conference's headquarters at 216-825-6777.

Thanks to a naming rights partnership forged by Arlington, Va.-based developer The Mills Corp., the 1.3 million sq. ft. retail and entertainment center previously known as Sugarloaf Mills will debut as Discover Mills.

The suburban Atlanta mall takes its moniker from Riverwoods, Ill.-based Discover Financial Services. It is the first time a brand name has been incorporated into a shopping center's name. Recently, we caught up with Tony Wells, Mills' vice president of marketing and sales, for a Q & A session concerning this landmark marketing agreement.

Q: What will the Mills Corp. gain from the joint venture?

A: Well, we'll gain a lot. We'll gain a great marketing partner. Discover card has over 48 million members across the country. They are the largest issuer of general purpose credit cards in the country. So we are going to get, certainly, some significant marketing benefits and both companies have agreed to work together for some joint-media and marketing opportunities. There is a financial return to our company, obviously, but we also think that the marketing benefits, in kind, that Discover brings to the relationship will help the center be more prevalent and top-of-the line for Atlanta consumers. We are thinking that is going to result in increased consumer visits and awareness.

Q: What kind of financial return are we talking about for Mills?

A: Well, on a property like Discover Mills we think it is going to add 50 basis points to the net operating income (NOI) of the property. It is a great opportunity for us and that is only part of the story, obviously. I think equally as powerful is just the power that Discover brings with their card member base, the added value components, the great merchant relationships that they have and we intend to try to tap as many of those opportunities as possible.

Q: What will Discover Financial gain from the venture?

A: They are going to gain a lot of things, like any naming rights, and a property that will be top-of-the-line for consumers in the Atlanta market and in the whole Southeast region. Our properties have a 90% to 96% awareness market so the Discover name is going to be more prominent. There is a ton of direct marketing benefits - they are going to be able to have card acquisition at the property, they're going to have their retail presence, all our advertising. The actual Discover card will be part of the properties new logo. So every time we or one of our merchants advertises, there is an ancillary benefit to awareness for Discover card. And at the end of the day what we hope to do is use all these programs to "create a greater share of wallet" for them at the property.

Q: Why did you chose Discover over any other card that is out there?

A: They have 48 million card members. Visa and Mastercard are associations so they don't really own any card members - they don't own any of the data. They own it kind of defacto through their member banks. But one of the beauties of Discover is that all the marketing data, the information of card hold usage - they control all that data and that market research information. So if Visa or Mastercard wanted to do 10% off something, they would have to go to all their member banks and get them all to buy in. Because you might have something from Sun Trust and I have a card from Nations Bank, both those banks would have to agree to do the deal for it to work.

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