FACILITIES

Legislation seeks to curb ‘drive-by’ ADA lawsuits

BY Marianne Wilson

Two senators have introduced legislation to change the Americans with Disabilities Act.

On Sept. 28, Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced a bill that contains a “notice and cure” provision that would create a temporary halt in ADA litigation for up to 120 days to allow property owners to correct identified barriers to access. (A similar bill was introduced in the House.)

The legislation arose partially as a result of the 1,000-plus lawsuits filed by Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities. The recently formed nonprofit group has sent out lawsuit notices to a number of Arizona businesses, ranging from mom-and-pop shops to all CVS Pharmacy locations in the state, for not complying with the ADA, Phoenix Business Journal reported.

State lawmakers from other areas of the country are also supporting ADA reform efforts. Michigan State Representative Mike McCready recently introduced House Resolution 329, which urges Congress to enact H.R. 3765. (A bill addressing ADA compliance in Michigan was also introduced in the Michigan Senate by Senator Peter MacGregor.) A similar resolution was introduced in Ohio earlier this year, where it passed the House by a vote of 95-1 and awaits a vote in the Senate.

The newly introduced bill by Senators Flake and Wicker is supported by the International Council of Shopping Centers.

“We congratulate Senators Flake and Wicker on their leadership in this area,” said Betsy Laird, senior VP of public policy for ICSC. “ICSC supports both the letter and spirit of the ADA. We recognize the tremendous positive impact that the law has had on our society. After 25 years, ICSC and others believe it is time to address an unintended consequence of the law that incentivizes lawsuits rather than promotes access.”

ICSC stated that, over the past few years, its members have seen a dramatic rise in the number of “drive-by” ADA lawsuits.

“The number of ADA Title III lawsuits filed in federal court is already up 63% from last year’s mid-year number. More lawsuits of this type were filed in federal court in the first six months of 2016 than were filed in all of 2013,” the group said.

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C-SUITE

Weis Markets taps tech exec as new CIO

BY Marianne Wilson

Weis Markets has appointed R. Gregory Zeh, Jr. as VP/CIO of the company.

Zeh will oversee Weis’ day-to-day information technology functions, working in support of marketing and merchandising, supply chain and in-store management retail applications.

During his 25 year career, Zeh has worked in increasingly senior information technology and finance positions in the food retail and services industries including serving as VP/CIO at Price Chopper Supermarkets. Prior to joining the company, he was CFO of Mazzone Management Group, LTD.

Based in Sunbury, Pa., Weis operates 192 stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia.

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DEALS

JLL acquires Scottsdale center

BY Al Urbanski

JLL Income Property Trust has purchased the Kierland Village Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, for $34.5 million. Kierland Village is an upscale development in the Phoenix suburb, which has seen a near 10% rise in population since 2000.

The 118,000-sq.-ft. neighborhood center is anchored by Safeway and houses Walgreens, Einstein Brothers, Pizza Hut, Panda Express, and a UPS Store.

The acquisition is in line with JLL’s current appetite for active, necessity-based centers.

“This is our 12th grocery-anchored retail acquisition, reflecting our retail strategy to expand our portfolio in key locations where convenient access coupled with positive demographic trends support our core investment thesis,” said Allan Swaringen, the company’s president and CEO.


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