REAL ESTATE

Barnes & Noble testing in-store interactive play spaces

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — A report released Thursday said that Barnes & Noble has launched a test of store-in-store toy boutiques at a few select locations, in order to boost sales and fill shelf space.

According to a report by Reuters, the retailer has opened five 3,000-sq.-ft. play areas over the last week, featuring educational toys and games.

The five stores, open on a trial basis, are located in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Barnes & Noble has said it will open more if the boutiques prove successful during the upcoming holiday season. The retailer is also broadening its array of items at its children’s department at 500 stores for the 2010 holiday season.

"It could be huge for us," William Lynch, CEO, said in the report.

But the company, which operates about 720 stores, has said it has no plans to significantly reduce its store count and instead intends to repurpose much of its floor space these children’s toy areas and for demonstrations of its Nook e-readers.

Barnes & Noble put itself up for sale in August and in September fended off a proxy fight waged by dissident investor Ron Burkle.

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REAL ESTATE

Simon expands Houston Premium Outlets

BY CSA STAFF

Indianapolis — Simon Property Group announced that it opened the second phase of Houston Premium Outlets in Cypress, Texas.

The 114,000-sq.-ft. expansion brings the property to a total of 541,000 sq. ft. of gross leasable area (GLA) and 145 stores.

The center, located in Cypress, Texas, opened in 2008 and features a collection of brands such as: 7 For All Mankind; Adidas; Ann Taylor; BCBG Max Azria; Brooks Brothers; Burberry; Calphalon Kitchen Outlet; Coach; Cole Haan; DKNY; Elie Tahari; Juicy Couture; Kate Spade; Kenneth Cole; Le Creuset; Michael Kors; Nike; St. John; Tag Heuer; Tommy Hilfiger; True Religion and Under Armour.

Phase II adds 25 new merchants including: Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, which will become the center’s largest store, A/X Armani Exchange; American Eagle Outfitters; Chico’s; David Yurman; Ed Hardy; Esprit; Haggar Clothing Co.; J.Crew; Jockey; Joe’s Jeans; Jos. A. Bank; Lacoste; Merrell; Nautica; New York & Co.; Nestle Toll House by Chip; Original Penguin; Talbots; Tory Burch; Tumi; White House Black Market and Wilsons Leather.

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REAL ESTATE

Jones Lang LaSalle introduces new real estate tax mitigation alliance

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago Jones Lang LaSalle announced it has formed an alliance with the Property Tax division within Thomson Reuters’ Tax & Accounting business to provide tax mitigation services to corporate real estate clients.

Jones Lang LaSalle’s Real Estate Tax Mitigation offering provides review, recommendations and appeal processes to manage a corporation’s real estate tax budget.

The Real Estate Tax Mitigation team annually reviews all owned and leased locations; updates and compares valuations to those imposed by taxing authorities; and supplements the review and appeal process with experts in the field.

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