REAL ESTATE

Le Grand Cirque coming to Grand Boulevard

BY CSA STAFF

Miramar Beach, Fla. Howard Group announced that entertainment attraction Le Grand Cirque will premier at the company’s Grand Boulevard development to play throughout the summer and possibly beyond.

“The introduction of the world class production ‘Le Grand Cirque’ to our region will take our area to another level by providing a much needed quality entertainment attraction that will complement the most beautiful beaches in the world,” said John Heiser, executive VP for Howard Group.

Miramar Beach-based Howard Group developed Grand Boulevard, the Town Center, which includes two Marriott hotels and is located at the entrance to Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

The multi-million dollar production of Le Grand Cirque is two years in the making, including acts from around the world and the debut of new acts specifically tailored for the Miramar Beach market.

“We chose Grand Boulevard as our new home because it is perfectly centered in between the markets that we want to attract customers from along the Emerald Coast. Additionally, it is a beautiful upscale site that fits the look and feel of the show beautifully. Patrons will be able to eat, drink and relax before and after the show in the Town Center,” said Simon Painter, producer of Le Grand Cirque.

Starting in late May, Le Grand Cirque will perform in Grand Boulevard for the entire summer in the Grand Arena, one of three, cream-colored Italian-style, air-conditioned fabric structures which comprise the venue.

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AAFES continues to invest in facilities

BY Marianne Wilson

During a time when many retailers are tightening the reins on capital expenditures, AAFES (Army & Air Force Exchange Services), which finances projects through the sale of merchandise and services, is actually accelerating facility renovations to improve service. Funding comes strictly from self-generated, non-appropriated resources and is not a burden to the American taxpayer.

“With a slumping economy, shoppers have been asking more questions about capital improvements,” said Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s senior VP real estate Mike Gividen. “We want our customers to know we are investing in our facilities more than ever before.”

According to Gividen, there is a direct correlation between patronage at the exchange and resulting capital improvement projects.

“AAFES shoppers are essentially AAFES’ shareholders and our goal is to be our customer’s first choice,” he said. “As such, we have a responsibility to properly re-invest in our facilities to provide a pleasant, first-class shopping experience.”

The replacement of aging facilities begins with a thorough evaluation of factors such as age, potential demand and military transformation requirements. Once complete, AAFES’ real estate team is able to identify potential priority locations that are reviewed for replacement.

By the end of 2010, AAFES will have opened five new shopping centers, including the world’s largest exchange, a sprawling 490,000-sq.-ft., multi-use retail development, Freedom Crossing at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas. It is the first-ever open-air shopping center to be located on Military Post. This is in addition to six new shopping centers opened in 2009.

Even as it invests in new construction, AAFES is also investing in image updates, or facelifts, of existing exchanges.

“As we executed renovation projects last year, we were experiencing 25%-30% savings because contractors needed work,” said Gus Elliott, VP facilities division in charge of renovations. “As a result, we decided to accelerate future renovations not only to realize capital program savings, but to help the local contractors with increased business during these tough economic times.”

AAFES plans to bring 24 exchanges up to current retail design standards in 2010.

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Cleaning up after others

BY CSA STAFF

Target donated $50,000 to the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund to protect and rescue wildlife and habitats impacted by the oil spill and restore fragile nesting and breeding grounds damaged by oil infiltration.

“Target is committed to funding programs that provide disaster relief to communities in need,” said Laysha Ward, president of Target community relations and Target Foundation. “Through our donation to the National Wildlife Federation, we hope to help protect the precious coastal resources and wildlife threatened by this crisis and preserve them for the next generation.”

The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization with more than four million members, partners and supporters. The organization is likely to burn through Target’s donation quickly judging from how much BP, the company responsible for the oil spill, has already spent. The oil company said as of Monday it had spent $350 million on various efforts to contain oil hemorrhaging from the ocean floor in addition to cleanup efforts including the use of 275 vessels that so far have recovered about 90,000 barrels of oil.

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