REAL ESTATE

Mall of America owner to complete troubled Xanadu Project

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Triple Five Worldwide Development Co. LLC, owner of the Mall of America in Minnesota, reached a deal with lenders and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to complete and expand the stalled Meadowlands Xanadu entertainment complex in East Rutherford, N.J., Bloomberg reported.

The developer will increase the project’s size to about 3 million sq. ft. from 2.4 million sq. ft., change its much-maligned exterior, and add indoor water and theme parks to the mix of attractions, said Maureen Bausch, a spokeswoman for Triple Five. The complex, which will be renamed “American Dream | Meadowlands,” is set to open in phases starting in the fall of 2013, according to the spokeswoman.

“The building will provide opportunity in a lot of ways,” Bausch said. “It will bring jobs, opportunities for people to start businesses, and opportunities to visit New Jersey with their families.”

Bausch declined to provide details about Triple Five’s investment. The New York Times reported today that the company would pump more than $1 billion into the project and that Governor Christie agreed to provide low-interest financing and allow the developer to use most of the sales tax it collects over a period of time to repay the loan. The state is offering a financing package of $180 million to $200 million, according to the newspaper.

The complex has been plagued by delays since building began more than five years ago. Colony, led by billionaire Thomas J. Barrack, took over in 2006 from Mills Corp., the original developer, after Mills ran out of money.

Work stalled after the September 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings, which had financed the project, left lenders unable to meet obligations, Santa Monica, Calif.-based Colony said in an August statement.

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REAL ESTATE

Report: SuperValu to open 160 Save-A-Lot stores in 2011

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — SuperValu plans to increase the footprint of its value division Save-A-Lot by 160 new stores this year, GlobeSt.com reported.

“This past year we added 92 net Save-A-Lot stores, and this fiscal year we’re looking to add another 160 net stores,” a spokesman said in the report.

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FINANCE

OfficeMax Q1 profit falls 53%

BY CSA STAFF

Naperville, Ill. — OfficeMax said Thursday that its net income dropped 53% in the first quarter.

Net income fell to $11.9 million from $25.4 million. Revenue fell 2.8% to $1.86 billion, though it beat analysts’ estimates

The company blamed bad weather, store discounts and "an unfavorable product sales mix shift" in the technology department. Revenue from direct sales to business customers fell more steeply than revenue in stores.

The chain was challenged by operating expenses. CEO Ravi Saligram said he was disappointed with the results and that the company had put programs in place to cut expenses to last year’s levels.

“We are disappointed with our start to the year,” Saligram said. “In recognition of current trends and upon a deeper evaluation of our existing capabilities, we have put in place strong actions, including significant cost mitigation programs to bring our expenses in-line with last year. We believe these actions should help drive improved performance."

Mexico was a bright spot. Though OfficeMax closed six stores in the United States and plans to close about nine more this year, it expects to open eight to 10 in Mexico.

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