REAL ESTATE

Trademark partners with Rice University

BY Michael Fickes

Fort Worth, Texas — Rice Management Co. has selected Trademark Property Co. to oversee asset and property management, leasing and repositioning of the village Arcade in the historic Rice Village district of Houston, Texas.

The selection comes after Rice University exercised an option to acquire the leasehold interest in the two-level 195,000-sq.-ft. open-air retail center from the current owner, Weingarten. Closing is set for the third quarter of this year.

Located west of Rice University, the Village Arcade is the largest retail property in Rice Village. It features 50 stores and restaurants, including Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, Athleta, Banana Republic, Chico’s, Gap, Kendra Scott, MAC, Sephora, Soma, Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret and White House|Black Market.

Trademark and Rice plan to improve the shopping experience throughout the property and Rice Village via enhanced streetscape, landscaping, storefronts and facades that will set the stage for the modern evolution of the mixed-use property, which dates back to the 1930s.

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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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FINANCE

Darden sells Red Lobster to Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion

BY Marianne Wilson

Orlando, Fla. — Darden Restaurants on Friday said it has reached an agreement to sell its struggling Red Lobster chain to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion.

"Red Lobster is exactly the type of company in which we seek to invest given its great brand profile and strong management team,” said Josh Olshansky, managing director at Golden Gate Capital. “We see significant opportunities for future growth by partnering with Kim Lopdrup and the management team to support the long-term success of Red Lobster."

Darden said it expects net cash proceeds of about $1.6 billion, of which about $1 billion would be used to retire debt. The remainder would be used to buy back up to $700 million of shares in fiscal 2015, according to Darden.

In December, Darden said it planned to spin off or sell the 705-restaurant Red Lobster division.

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