REAL ESTATE

Aurelio’s Pizza to South Michigan Avenue in Chicago

BY Michael Fickes

Chicago — Aurelio’s Pizza has leased a 5,163-sq.-ft. store at 1212 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. It will become Aurelio’s flagship location and first corporate-owned restaurant in downtown Chicago.

RKF’s Chicago office represented the landlord on the long-term lease. Baum Realty represented Aurelio’s.

Aurelio’s will occupy the most of the ground floor of the 30-story residential property also known as Park Michigan Apartments. The ground floor retail space previously housed a swimming pool. A multi-million dollar upgrade of the residential units and common areas converted the swimming pool to retail space.

The pizza franchise currently counts 40 restaurants located in six states, with owned directly by the Aurelio family.

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REAL ESTATE

Report: Future bright for brick-and-mortar retail

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The future looks bright for retail stores. That’s the conclusion of a new report by the International Council of Shopping Centers. The report, set to be released in May during ICSC’s RECon Conference, finds that population growth in the United States is now outpacing the addition of retail space by three-and-a-half times.

“As a result, shopping space per capita, which peaked in 2009 at 24.2 square feet, now stands at 23.7. This correction will make way for demand in new retail space once again,” the report said.

According to ICSC research, announced store closings in 2013 decreased 43% versus the previous year. When new Census Bureau data becomes available, it is likely that both 2012 and 2013 were net positive in terms of new retail stores.

In another positive sign, pure online retailers are looking for physical space. The report cites such examples as women’s accessories retailer JustFab, which opened its first store in 2012.

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Ashley Furniture opens 500th store; 50 more due in 2014

BY Staff Writer

Arcadia, Wis. — Ashley Furniture HomeStore, the largest furniture retailer in the U.S., celebrated the opening of its 500th store in Longview, Texas, on Feb. 21. It is the chain’s 48th store in the Lone Star state.

The company, whose sales exceeded $3 billion in 2013, has 50 additional HomeStore openings on tap in 2014.

"When the first HomeStore opened in 1997 (in Anchorage, Alaska), we were confident that this business model would be capable of providing complete home furniture solutions that would meet or exceed consumer expectations in price, delivery and service," said Todd Wanek, president and CEO of Ashley and Ashley Furniture HomeStore. "It is with a tenacity to never stop innovating that our teams – from the local level to our corporate headquarters – have propelled our growth throughout the last two decades, and with the latest improvements to our operations and customer fulfillment systems, I’m confident that this trend will continue into the future."

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