REAL ESTATE

Gap opening first Gap flagship in Rome

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Rome — Gap said Friday that it will debut its first Gap flagship store in Rome on Via del Corso, the city’s premier shopping district, on July 30.

The opening in Rome is part of Gap’s ongoing international growth strategy; it opened its first Gap and Banana Republic stores in Milan in November 2010.

Four additional Gap and Banana Republic stores are slated to open in Italy this year. The company also recently introduced its outlet concept to the country and said it expects to open additional stores in Italian outlet centers.

The new flagship store is a two-story, 14,111-sq.-ft. space that was originally a bank and most recently a book store. To celebrate this heritage, the store will house a book corner and sell a variety of art and style books. Several of the structure’s original elements have been conserved including a 1940’s mural by Giulio Russo showcasing men on a scaffold wearing white T-shirts and denim. Gap has also reinterpreted and localized Gap’s American store design through the use of premium materials such as marble and warm toned woods. At the heart of each store is a floating white staircase composed of stone and white glass and a sky light positioned directly above.

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REAL ESTATE

Williams-Sonoma to open U.K. stores

BY Staff Writer

London — A Friday report by the United Kingdom’s The Independent newspaper said that San Francisco-based Williams-Sonoma is planning a U.K. launch in 2012.

The report said that the company has appointed a U.K. retail property agent and plans to open its first store in the first half of next year.

Plans call for a London debut and the report said the retailer is seeking 5,000-sq.-ft. to 8,000-sq.-ft. spaces.

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Westfield to manage new shopping precinct at New York World Trade Center site

BY Staff Writer

Los Angeles — Westfield Group shopping center owner said in a statement that it has agreed in principle to joint-venture with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey the new retail precinct at the site of the New York World Trade Center.

Westfield, upon completion of the deal, would manage and lease out the retail space expected to open in early 2015.

“After being initially involved in the World Trade Center prior to September 11, 2001, and working with the Port over the past 10 years, we are excited about our partnership to rebuild the World Trade Center retail,” Westfield joint CEO Peter Lowy said in a statement.

“We will be creating a world-class, iconic shopping experience for Lower Manhattan and the City of New York,” he said.

Westfield will invest $612.5 million for a 50% share in the joint venture. Westfield said it could invest up to a further $37.5 million on achieving agreed yield targets.

Plans for the retail premises include about 365,000 sq. ft. of leasable space. A further 90,000 sq. ft. may be added later.

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