REAL ESTATE

Simon launches installation of electric vehicle charging stations

BY CSA STAFF

Indianapolis — Mall owner Simon Property Group announced Tuesday that it has completed its first installation of an electric vehicle charging station at one of its shopping centers.

The initial installation has been completed at Simon’s Florida Mall in Orlando and will be complete at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, Calif., later in April.

One ‘Level 2’ charger, which has the capability to "top off" or partially charge a customer’s electric vehicle in a 60- to 120-minute time frame, is now operational near the food court entrance at Florida Mall. One dual unit, with two ‘Level 2’ chargers, will be installed in the parking deck between Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s at Stanford Shopping Center.

According to Simon, the EV charging stations will be self-service and easy to operate. Shoppers will be able to "pull up and plug in" and leave their vehicles at the charging station while they are shopping at the mall. Charging will be free during an introductory time period and then a nominal fee will be assessed.

Production numbers from EV automakers project approximately a million EVs on U.S. roads by 2015, and possibly 27 million (or 10% of all vehicles in the U.S.) by 2020.

"We believe that a well-developed EV charging infrastructure is going to be key to the success of EVs," said George Caraghiaur, Simon Property Group’s senior VP of energy and procurement. "Meeting the needs of the first-to-market drivers of electric vehicles in the communities we serve is yet another example of our commitment to sustainability."

Simon is working with two companies during this initial rollout. Car Charging installed the unit at Florida Mall and 350Green will install the charging units at Stanford Shopping Center.

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FINANCE

Walgreens sales rise 7.6% in March

BY CSA STAFF

Deerfield, Ill. — Walgreens said Tuesday that sales for the month of March rose 7.6% to $6.28 billion, compared with $5.83 billion in the year-ago period.

Duane Reade stores, acquired in April 2010, contributed 2.8% to the total sales increase for the month.

Same-store sales rose 3% in March, not including Duane Reade stores. Results topped Wall Street expectations.

Walgreens opened 12 stores during March, including three relocations, acquired one store and closed two.

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FINANCE

Blockbuster auction to continue into second day

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Blockbuster’s bankruptcy auction is set to stretch into a second day on Tuesday after preliminary talks between bidders and the chain’s representatives dragged on late into Monday, a company spokesman said.

Blockbuster did not say how many bidders it attracted, but halls outside the auction room in Manhattan bankruptcy court were packed with attorneys and investment bankers refining their bids throughout Monday, Reuters reported.

With talks wrapping up Monday evening, the bidding itself is set to take place on Tuesday and will be public, said Blockbuster spokesman Michael Freitag, according to Reuters.

Satellite television company Dish Network Corp. and billionaire investor Carl Icahn qualified for the auction by submitting bids last week, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

A Dish spokesman declined to comment. Icahn did not return calls seeking a comment, but a room at the courthouse was reserved for the Icahn group.

Gordon Brothers Group and Hilco Merchant Resources also submitted a joint bid for Blockbuster’s inventory, the Journal said on Monday.

The auction will be followed by a hearing before federal bankruptcy judge Burton Lifland on April 7 to approve the new owner.

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