REAL ESTATE

Merlin Entertainment to debut attractions in Texas

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas — X Team International, an international alliance of retail real estate advisors, said Tuesday that Venture Commercial, through its Venturetainment division, assisted with site-selection efforts and completed two leases for global visitor attraction operator Merlin Entertainments Group to bring two of its iconic attraction brands to the Texas market for the first time.

Legoland Discovery Center and a Sea Life aquarium will open later this year in the Mills/Simon-owned Grapevine Mills Mall, located just north of DFW Airport. The mall is anchored by AMC Theatres, J.C. Penney, Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Marshalls and Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th.

The Legoland Discovery Center will be approximately 35,000 sq. ft., while Sea Life will occupy two levels at approximately 45,000 sq. ft.

Venture Commercial assisted Merlin’s national advisor Samuels & Co.

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FINANCE

Williams-Sonoma authorizes $125 million stock buyback

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco — Williams-Sonoma said Tuesday that its board has approved a $125 million stock repurchase program.

The retailer said the new program will likely be completed by January 2012. It does not have an expiration date. The company said it had completed a $65 million stock repurchase program approved in September 2010.

Williams-Sonoma, which runs Pottery Barn, West Elm, its namesake stores and other brands, had about 105.1 million outstanding shares as of Nov. 28, 2010.

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FINANCE

Report: New Yorkers spending more at Walmart

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — New York City residents spent nearly $200 million at about a dozen Walmart stores in the New York metropolitan area in 2010, up about 20% from the amount reported in a previous 12-month period, the company said Monday, according to Crain’s New York.

Although Wal-Mart does have any stores in New York City proper, the chain is determined to break into the market and is working to overcome opposition from labor, community and small business groups.

An ad campaign being launched Tuesday in three dozen community newspapers blames “special interests” for keeping Walmart out of the city, according to the report, while opponents continue to argue that Walmart will harm low-income New Yorkers and small businesses.

On Monday, the heads of three City Council committees sent a letter to Walmart asking it to reconsider its decision not to appear at a hearing Thursday examining the retail giant’s potential impact on the city, Crain’s reported.

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