TENANT UPDATE

Food Emporium raises hopes of New Jersey center

BY Al Urbanski

In 2013, when Plainsboro (New Jersey) Plaza lost its grocery anchor, prospects appeared bleak for the once-thriving center. A new town center concept erected across the street in this affluent locale bordering Princeton had siphoned off shoppers in a big way. According to a report in the Trenton Times, two-thirds of the Plaza emptied while Plainsboro Village Center was 96% leased.

Onyx Properties purchased the Plaza at that juncture, promising to bring it back to life. The company reached a milestone on that path today, announcing the leasing of the 43,000-sq.-ft. grocery pad to Food Emporium, the former high-end banner of A&P now owned by Key Foods.

"We have made every effort to maximize tenant and shopper experience," said Matthew Flath, Onyx's VP of retail leasing. "We are especially thrilled about the new anchor tenant.”

Onyx claims to have leased more than 30,000 sq. ft. of space at Plainsboro Plaza since assuming ownership. Other tenants include Indus American Bank, Lightbridge Academy, and Planet Fitness.

Plainsboro Mayor Peter Cantu credited Onyx with foresight in providing a retail alternative the new town center was lacking.

“The community has recognized the need for a high-end supermarket in the Village Center. Bringing in a grocer that understands the needs of our residents is something we have strived for,” Cantu remarked upon the closing of the Food Emporium deal.


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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Uniqlo renovating ‘milestone’ store

BY Marianne Wilson

Uniqlo is in the final stages of an extensive makeover of its first-ever store in New York City.

Located in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood, the 10-year-old, 36,000-sq.-ft. store is being redone to the theme of "a new Tokyo in Soho." Scheduled to unveil its new look on Sept. 2, the store was the chain’s first global flagship. Hiroshi Taki, Uniqlo U.S.A. CEO, described it as “an important milestone in the company's plans to expand internationally.”

“During the past 10 years, Soho has evolved as an important hub of design, creativity and art, and Uniqlo too has grown in the community,” he said. “'A New Tokyo in Soho' symbolizes a celebration of our first ten years and our commitment to deepen our roots in the community over many years to come. By engaging with the neighborhood in new and exciting ways, we wish to contribute to the next phase of Soho's growth. “

The renovated store will feature multiple shop-in-shop areas, each telling a story that highlights the company's passion for innovation. The shop promoting performance items such as its “Ultra Light Down” will focus on functionality, while another will celebrate the art of design, emphasizing the care and attention the brand dedicates to fabrics like cashmere.

A new shop will bring Japanese urban style together with Soho street style, through classic items like denim and oxford shirts. In addition, it will present the best of Japanese styling through a special partnership with Popeye magazine, Japan's iconic men's fashion and lifestyle publication.

The store's mezzanine level will work as an exhibition space, evoking images of a Soho artist's loft and featuring products like SPRZ NY (Surprise New York), a collaboration between Uniqlo and MoMA. Uniqlo Soho will also partner with local stores and restaurants, and the company will extend its relationships with local non-profit organizations.

Renovation work at the store began in July. The store will close from Aug. 22 and will re-open to customers on Sept. 2.

Tokyo-based Uniqlo operates some 1,700 stores around the world, with four locations in New York City.

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News

Is Restoration Hardware thinking of entering a new business?

BY CSA STAFF

Gary Friedman, CEO of Restoration Hardware, is not denying reports that the ultra-luxury home furnishings company may one day sell fully designed and outfitted homes.

A report byMarket Watchnotes that Friedman’s house in St. Helena, California, is on the market for $10.5 million. Friedman describes the house, which is outfitted from top to bottom with RH furnishings and hardware, as the first “RH Residence.”

“I do believe there is a void in the market for fully designed and integrated homes that deliver the one thing that none of us can currently buy, time,” Friedman said in an email to Market Watch.

For more, and photos of Friedman’s home, clickhere.

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