FINANCE

Report: Commercial real estate markets begin long, slow recovery

BY CSA STAFF

Princeton, N.J. — A report released Tuesday by NAI Global said that real estate conditions worldwide had stabilized and were beginning to improve.

According to NAI Global’s 25th annual Global Market Report, after a prolonged, challenging period marked by frozen credit, sidelined investors, stalled development, rising vacancy rates and declining rental rates and property values, modest improvement is expected in just about every market sector and geography in 2011.

“Although 2010 was another very challenging year for the industry, we began to see clear signs that the global economy and commercial real estate markets had stabilized and were beginning to improve with a noticeable pickup in transaction volume around the world,” said Jeffrey M. Finn, NAI Global president and CEO.

“Companies around the globe are taking advantage of the current market, extending or renegotiating leases, securing investment properties, disposing of underperforming assets and finalizing plans for growth in the next 24 months. We expect a much more active market for buyers, sellers and occupiers as conditions continue to improve,” he said.

With regard to retail specifically, the report said that the nation’s retail markets appear to have stabilized. While some markets still struggle to fill big boxes vacated by national chains, others have seen new entries and local retailers upgrading to better locations, according to the report. The national average vacancy rate for downtown/CBD retail space stood at 8.2% in 2010, down from 8.9% in 2009, while rents slipped from $39.90 in 2009 to $39.79 in 2010.

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STORE SPACES

Tempe Marketplace wins design awards

BY CSA STAFF

Tempe, Ariz. — Vestar’s Tempe Marketplace open-air shopping center, located in Tempe, Ariz., was recognized by the International Council of Shopping Centers with a Silver Sustainability Award in ICSC’s annual U.S. Design and Development Awards.

Designed to recognize outstanding projects for excellence in the creation of new retail projects, and in the expansion or redevelopment of existing projects, Tempe Marketplace was chosen for its sustainability, innovative design and development of the property since its build out.

“To be recognized as a shopping center that demonstrates how a specific design or construction problem was solved, in addition to how new design and construction standards were established, truly shows the thought, dedication and attention to quality that went into this center,” said David Larcher, executive VP, Vestar Development Co.

Built on a former Superfund site and considered the largest brownfield clean-up in the history of Arizona, Tempe Marketplace was developed into an open-air, regional shopping, dining and entertainment destination.

Vestar Development Co., the developer of Tempe Marketplace, and Rockwood Capital recently acquired Tempe Marketplace for $280 million by buying out an original partner.

ICSC announced the winners of the 2010 U.S. Design and Development Awards during a recent awards ceremony in Phoenix.

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REAL ESTATE

DDG awarded planning and design architecture for China’s largest mall

BY CSA STAFF

Baltimore — Planning, architecture, graphics and design firm Development Design Group said Monday it has been awarded the position of planner and design architect for the retail centerpiece of the landmark Tianjin City Culture Center Development, soon to become the largest mall in China.

Located 20 minutes outside of Beijing’s central business district, the project is developed by Tianjin Lecheng Real Estate Co. DDG’s contribution to the project, the 4 million-sq.-ft., seven-level retail component will be part of an overall 9 million-sq.-ft. commercial and cultural destination in Tianjin City, China near Beijing.

In addition to the retail focal point, which will become the single largest shopping center building in China, the larger Culture Center Development also features a Grand Theater and Opera House, Art Museum, Grand Library, Youth Education Museum, and a Natural History Museum. A connection to four city subway lines runs beneath the site, and a recently completed high-speed connection direct to downtown Beijing will facilitate convenient access for the city’s 22 million residents.

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