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Celebrating in Gainesville

BY Michael Fickes

A spectacular mixed-use development will soon break ground in Gainesville, Fla. — at the intersection of I-75 and Archer Road. When complete, Celebration Pointe will run more than a half-mile along I-75, the heart of Gainesville’s most successful retail corridor.

The project’s specs are awesome: 125 acres, 1 million sq. ft., 300,000 sq. ft. of upper-moderate and specialty retail, a huge restaurant and entertainment component, Class A office space, nearly 1,000 multifamily residential units, a branded hotel.

The developer, Celebration Pointe Development Partners, plans to begin site preparation work soon.

But big mixed-use projects like this require lots of preliminary work. For instance, the development team has been working with officials from Alachua County and Gainesville to include a number of mass transit stops within and adjacent to the project. They have already worked out dedicated rapid transit lanes that will provide ready access to and from Celebration Pointe to the University of Florida, UF Health Shands Hospital and downtown Gainesville.

A prominent main entrance will be on Archer Road and a new vehicular and pedestrian bridge, currently undergoing permitting, will span I 75 to provide multimodal access to and from the Pointe. Finally a new four-lane boulevard with generous pedestrian walkways and a dedicated bus lane will connect the project to Archer Road.

Celebration Pointe will combine this kind of access with demographic strength. The University of Florida, just two miles west of the development is home to more than 50,000 students and 28,000 employees. The site is just minutes from Gainesville’s health care corridor, another large employment center.

Celebration Point also features abundant green space, generous pedestrian walks, natural gathering spots and integrated bike paths.

More than 100 acres have been reserved as a permanent conservation area along the western border of the property. Combine that acreage with the 460-acre Lake Kanapaha Conservation Area and 240-acre Split rock Conservation Area, and more than 800 acres of scenic nature preserve will complement Celebration Pointe to the north and west.

The project will also connect more than five miles of outdoor trails that wind through Celebration Pointe to the surrounding conservation areas.

The network of trails includes a portion of the 12-mile Archer Braid Trail that will run along the northern portion of Celebration Pointe and will connect the development to the University of Florida, UF Health Shands Hospital, Veterans Kanapaha Park, Haile Plantation, Kanapaha Middle School, Wiles Elementary, giving thousands of students and single-family residences walking and biking access from both the east and west sides of I-75.

“Celebration Pointe will provide a dramatic and defining new destination for Gainesville,” said Tonya Creekmore, retail principal in the Avison Young Atlanta office that is leading retail leasing for the project. “Along with having prominent walking and biking trails, the project will focus on creating a sustainable environment intimately tied to its urban identity.”

The development team aims to open the initial phase of Celebration Pointe by the third quarter of 2015.

For retail leasing information, visit the ICSC Florida Conference in Orlando on Aug. 19 -20 or call the Avison Young office at 770-916-6120.


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Wet Seal grows sales during Q2, misses estimates

BY Dan Berthiaume

Foothill Ranch, Calif. – The Wet Seal Inc. reported net sales of $137.2 million during the second quarter of fiscal 2013, a 1.5% improvement from the second quarter of the previous year. However, this figure fell a bit short of the $138.5 million analysts were expecting.

Same-store sales grew 3.7%, a substantial turnaround from an 11.1% same-store sales decline during the second quarter of fiscal 2012. E-commerce sales, which are not included in same-store sales totals, remained flat. The company expects earnings per share of about one cent, in line with previous guidance of EPS ranging from flat to two cents per share. Wet Seal will release full earnings for the quarter on Aug. 27.

“We’re pleased to see the business return to positive comp store sales, particularly against the backdrop of a challenging retail environment in June and July," said John D. Goodman, CEO of Wet Seal. "While sales trends softened during the latter months of the period, we generated positive comparable store sales each month of the quarter and achieved an improved blend of regular and promotional pricing. This enabled us to generate a substantial increase in merchandise margin versus a year ago and deliver on our previously announced expectations for earnings improvement. We also ended the quarter with inventories well-positioned entering the key back-to-school shopping period.”

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L Brands raises Q2 income guidance based on sales

BY Dan Berthiaume

Columbus, Ohio – L Brands, parent company of retail chains including Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, is raising its income guidance for the second quarter of fiscal 2013 due to early sales results. Total revenue for July rose 4% to $678.4 million from $649.8 million, while same-store sales climbed 4%.

In addition, the company reported net sales of $2.5 billion for the second quarter, an increase of 5% compared to sales of $2.4 billion for the second quarter of last year. The company reported a same- store sales increase of 2% during the quarter, as well. L Brands now expects to report second quarter earnings per share of approximately 60 cents, up from its previous guidance of 50 cents to 55 cents and last year’s adjusted result of 50 cents.

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