REAL ESTATE

Simon names Mona Benisi director of sustainability

BY Michael Fickes

Indianapolis — Simon Property Group has named Mona Benisi director of sustainability. Benisi’s responsibilities will include advancing and leading all aspects of Simon’s sustainability strategy. That strategy includes recycling, water management and renewable energy programs.

Benisi will also lead the company’s sustainability task force, direct and manage measurement and reporting of critical sustainability metrics, including CDP, the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark and GRI.

Benisi previously served as a consultant in the corporate sustainability office of Siemens Corp. in Munich, where she played a key role in the development and implementation of the company’s sustainability strategy.

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REAL ESTATE

Construction begins on Victory Park in Dallas

BY Michael Fickes

Dallas — Redevelopment has begun at Victory Park in Dallas.

The initial phase of redevelopment, scheduled to finish up late this year, aims to improve the pedestrian experience and connect American Airlines Center/Victory Plaza and the southern area of Victory Park.

Improvements will include a raised crosswalk and median on Olive Street that will connect Victory Park Lane and Victory Plaza. A signalized crosswalk to be placed at the intersection of Olive Street and Victory Park Lane will enable pedestrians to cross safely between American Airlines Center and the southern area of Victory Park. On Victory Park Lane, the existing medians and streetlights will be removed and the sidewalks will be widened to accommodate large outdoor patios. Additional raised crosswalks will be added.

Coming phases of redevelopment will add retail, restaurants, entertainment residential and office throughout the area, enhance existing storefronts, graphics and landscaping and improve signage and way finding. North Houston Street and Victory Avenue will convert to two-0way traffic with dedicated bike lanes.

USTXVI Victory Park, a German real estate investment fund, owns Victory Park. Affiliates of Estein & Associates USA manages the fund. Whiting-Turner is the construction manager for the initial phase of redevelopment. Cushman & Wakefield is UST XVI Victory Park’s third-party real estate manager for the development.

The redevelopment initiatives come from a yearlong study, in which Victory Park, working with Dallas officials, enlisted experts from across the country in traffic, parking and retail design to evaluate the district and develop a long term plan for the property.

In May 2012, Victory Park announced a partnership with Trademark Property Co. to plan and execute the repositioning and redevelopment of its retail holdings in the southern district of Victory Park. Trademark is developing and implementing a merchandising and leasing strategy for the ground floor retail. The company has started preleasing efforts and identified key retail and restaurant tenants that meet the strategic plans for the development.

Victory Park currently includes 130,000 sq. ft. of restaurants and retail space, including: Chad Rookstool Salon, Cook Hall, Hard Rock Café, Havana Social Club, House of Blues, Kenichi, Medina, Metro Tickets, Naga Thai, Neo Pizza, The Office of Angela Scott, Perot Museum of Nature & Science, Shooters and Victory Tavern.

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REAL ESTATE

Starbucks expanding in Latin America

BY Marianne Wilson

Seattle — Starbucks Coffee Company is expanding its presence in Latin America, with plans to open locations in Colombia, Bolivia and Panama.

Starbucks said it is on track to open its first store in Colombia, in the city of Bogota, in mid-summer 2014 through a joint venture between two of its longest-term business partners in the Latin America region – Alsea and Grupo Nutresa. During the next five years, the joint venture plans to expand aggressively in Bogota and to other major cities in Colombia.

Later on in 2014, Delosi, Starbucks’ business partner in the Andean region, plans to open Starbucks first store in Bolivia, in the commercial center of Santa Cruz. Starbucks sees an opportunity to add up to 10 stores in Bolivia over the next several years.

In early 2015, Corporación de Franquicias Americanas, Starbucks’ Central America business partner, will open Starbucks first store in Panama. Over the long term, Starbucks and CFA plan to open more than 20 stores in Panama.

“We see significant opportunity to grow our retail presence beyond the more than 740 stores and 10,000 partners we currently have in 12 countries in the region in a way that will continue to celebrate the region’s rich coffee heritage while also deepening our relationships with each of the communities we serve,” said Cliff Burrows, group president, Starbucks Americas, U.S., and Teavana.

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