REAL ESTATE

Howard Hughes Corp. taps RKF to lease South Street Seaport

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Following unanimous approval in March by the New York City Council for the redevelopment of Pier 17, The Howard Hughes Corp. said it has named RKF as the exclusive consultant and leasing agent for the South Street Seaport.

With over 365,000 sq. ft. of retail, dining and entertainment space located along the East River in Lower Manhattan, the South Street Seaport is comprised of the historic Uplands and Pier 17, south of the Brooklyn Bridge. The redevelopment plan features the complete transformation of the Pier 17 building, including enhanced and increased open space on the pier and a new exterior façade.

"Our vision for a revitalized and reenergized Seaport will create an unrivaled New York experience that is compelling for the ever-growing population of residents, local workers and visitors," said David R. Weinreb, CEO, Howard Hughes Corp. "Working with RKF will ensure we bring best-in-class offerings, including acclaimed national and international retailers, local shops and destination restaurants."

Construction for the redevelopment is slated to begin this fall, and the project will be completed in 2015.

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REAL ESTATE

Forest City launches tool to shape Short Pump Town Center

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Cleveland — Forest City Enterprises said that, as its Short Pump Town Center celebrates 10 years in the Richmond, Va., market, it has launched a “Drawing Board” on Popularise, an online crowdsourcing and community engagement tool that focuses on real estate development.

“With this new tool, we now have the opportunity to broaden the dialog [with Short Pump customers] as we continually look to the future,” said Jane Lisy, senior VP marketing, Forest City. “The input we receive will supplement our extensive market and demographic research and will be invaluable in shaping our decisions and those of our current and prospective tenants.”

Through Popularise, the center will solicit ideas and engage shoppers in discussion on questions such as:

• What types of retailers or restaurants would you like to see?
• What amenities would enhance your shopping experience?
• How can pedestrian access be improved?
• What types of events and activities would you like to attend?
• What else can we do to interact with the community?

“No idea is too big or too small,” said Stephanie Shriver-Engdahl, VP digital strategy. “Sometimes we’ll ask for specific input, but most of the time we want people’s creativity and input to lead the dialog – anything they would like to see in the center, from quick-fix solutions to long-term projects.”

To use Popularise, shoppers will log in with their Facebook or Twitter accounts or register independently at www.popularise.com. Once signed up, users can “follow” Short Pump Town Center, provide comments and ideas on the Drawing Board, connect with the management team and encourage others to show their support by submitting “likes.”

The 1.3 million-sq.-ft. Short Pump Town Center opened in 2003 and blends an open-air design with an enclosed retail component. Anchor tenants include Nordstrom, Macy’s, Dillard’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

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REAL ESTATE

Garden City Center launches phase II of revitalization

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Cranston, R.I. — Boston-based The Wilder Cos. said Thursday that the second phase of the multi-phased strategy to expand, reconfigure and redevelop Garden City Center, in Cranston, R.I., is officially underway.

The project involves turning vacant former large-format retail spaces into a mix of mid-sized and smaller specialty retailers, including the state’s first Corner Bakery Café which signed a multi-year lease.

Phase II begins with the demolition of the former Border’s location, which will be completely taken down to make way for a new-to-market, two-level 38,000-sq.-ft. LA Fitness, slated to open in late December.

“We are always looking for ways to differentiate Garden City Center, and the transformation of the former large format stores into smaller spaces gives us the flexibility to offer options to unique local, regional and national retailers that we previously couldn’t accommodate,” said Thomas V. Wilder, a principal of The Wilder Cos., management company for Garden City Center. “The addition of first or only in Rhode Island stores, such as LA Fitness, Pottery Barn, Lululemon Athletica, and Corner Bakery is validation by retailers of our vision to transform Garden City Center into a unique lifestyle destination.”

Corner Bakery Café will open a 5,850-sq.-ft. eatery in late 2013, located in space formerly occupied by large-format stores (Circuit City and Linens n’ Things) that are being transformed into smaller shops offering 2,700 to 7,000 sq.-ft. spaces for a variety of specialty retailers.

Locally owned existing tenant Sweenor’s Chocolates is currently undergoing a complete makeover, reopening on May 1st. Additionally, work is underway on an expansion of Starbucks which is doubling the size of its current location. Starbucks renovations are expected to be complete by early June. Meanwhile, on April 26, Lululemon Athletica will open its first Rhode Island location next door to Starbucks in a 3,332-sq.-ft. store.

Garden City Center, with 500,000 sq. ft. of retail and office space, is home to 55 shops, services, and eateries including Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Loft, Mel and Me, Providence Diamond Co., Chico’s, Mod Mama, Pinkberry, Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn and Whole Foods Market.

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