REAL ESTATE

BeTween Scene to open at Shops at Starwood

BY CSA STAFF

Frisco, Texas Hermansen Land Development announced that tween retailer BeTween Scene will open a second Dallas-area store, at Hermansen’s The Shops at Starwood, in Frisco, Texas.

The store is slated to open in November, joining recently opened Pierce Decorative Hardware and Plumbing, Tupinamba’s Mexican Restaurant, Paper Affair and Ginny’s Underworld.

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REAL ESTATE

Wal-Mart investor meeting: Smaller stores for 2011

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores laid out plans to jump-start sluggish sales and amp up expansion at its investor meeting in Rogers, Ark., on Wednesday.

The world’s largest retailer said it will focus on smaller-format stores in 2011, with plans to open 185 to 205 new stores in the next fiscal year, compared with 153 stores in the current year, but with the same increase in square footage, 11 million, and similar capital expenditure, $7.5 billion to $8 billion.

The company also said it plans to expand internationally and is working to draw more customers to its Sam’s Club warehouse stores by expanding electronics and jewelry offerings, including selling Apple’s iPhone and iPad in some clubs by the holiday season.

International expansion plans include “strategic acquisitions in large, high growth markets,” according to international chief Doug McMillon. He said the company needs to grow in Japan and would like to grow in Argentina, Chile and Brazil.

CEO Mike Duke told investors that Wal-Mart is forecasting a rise in fourth-quarter same-store revenue in its U.S. stores after the figure fell for five straight quarters.

U.S. CEO Bill Simon also said the chain will more aggressively display discounts on some items featured in its main aisles rather than discounting as much throughout the store.

“In this environment we should be thriving and we’re gearing up to do that,” Simon said. Another plan in the works: In about 750 stores, orders will be available for pickup the same day.

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REAL ESTATE

ULI report explores factors that will shape urban growth

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. A new report released Tuesday by the Urban Land Institute uncovered a series of factors that are expected to guide real estate investment and shape urban growth in the years ahead.

The report, Finding Certainty in Uncertain Times, found that even in economic uncertainty, there are still some elements of certainty, such as demographic shifts, financial industry restructuring, global competitiveness and sustainable building, that will guide real estate in the future.

The collection of commentaries from ULI’s five senior resident fellows — Stephen Blank, Edward McMahon, John McIlwain, Thomas Murphy and Michael Horst — examines trends in population growth, consumer housing preferences, employment, real estate finance, environmental conservation, energy efficiency, venture capital investment and public leadership. These factors, according to Finding Certainty, are converging to shape a new era of urban economics within which cities and urban regions will have to compete in order to be successful in the 21st century.

“These trends will continue regardless of location, of which political party is in power, and of how quickly we recover from the recession,” said the report. “Taken collectively, they will create the ‘new normal.’”

“As the housing markets recover, demand will increase significantly for smaller, greener homes, more rental than in the past, and more compact, walkable urban centers in the suburbs as well as in many, but not all, central cities. The biggest challenge (in center cities) will be finding suitable, affordable locations,” McIlwain wrote in the report. “There will be metro areas that will attract the brightest and best, and will continue to grow and provide opportunities for development. Within these metro areas, some local markets will thrive; these are the compact, walkable communities, which are finding increasing demand as people look to new ways to define livability.”

McMahon, ULI’s senior resident fellow for sustainable development, maintained that the push for more environmentally conscious development practices will be driven at the state and local levels of government, and by the private sector, rather than at the federal level. He cited a steady increase in the number of buildings entering into the U.S. EPA’s Energy Star program, and a surge in the number of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified professionals as evidence that interest in green building has remained strong, despite the recession.

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