FINANCE

Transition team of N.J.’s new governor cites Xanadu’s ‘failed business model’

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Xanadu, the controversial, long-delayed retail and entertainment complex in New Jersey’s Meadowlands Sports Complex, “appears to be a failed business model,” according to a gaming, sports and entertainment report released Friday by the transition team of the state’s new governor, Chris Christie, The Record reported. Consequently, New Jersey needs to tell the owners to “open or surrender the property,” the report said.

The report found that “there is no leasing plan making material on-site progress regarding Xanadu, and that the physical activities of construction are at a standstill, if not abandonment. It said the construction loan is out of balance, and there are no monies readily available to finish construction of public areas or tenant improvements. Most, if not all, of announced major tenants have an “escape clause” solely dependent on leasing — or lack thereof.

The report also bluntly criticizes the lack of a specific deadline in the 2003 developer’s agreement by which Xanadu would have to open or be in default.

“The prevailing business conclusion at the time of the negotiation of the Meadowlands Xanadu project documents was that, once constructed, the developer’s investment return and debt service requirements would compel the prompt opening and continuous operation” of the entertainment and retail center, the report said before adding, “Unbelievable!”

Peter Fair, the COO of Xanadu, responded in a statement in the newspaper account: “The Xanadu business model is sound,” Fair said. “The project is delayed because two of our lenders went bankrupt. We are in the market procuring an alternative source of financing.”

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REAL ESTATE

Coldwater Creek closing downtown Seattle store

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Coldwater Creek is closing its downtown Seattle store after 10 years to focus more on stores in suburban markets, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported.

The lease for the store has expired and the company will close the store Jan. 30.

Since the store opened, Coldwater Creek has changed its business model to focus on growth in suburban markets with smaller stores, the report said.

The Sandpoint, Idaho-based company will continue to operate its Seattle-area stores at Bellevue Square, Lynnwood’s Alderwood Mall and Tacoma Mall, as well as stores in Kent and Gig Harbor.

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FINANCE

Lowe’s card offers points to small business customers

BY CSA STAFF

Las Vegas Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s Cos. teamed with American Express Open to launch the Lowe’s Business Rewards Card.

The key feature of the new payment product is the ability to offer small business customers reward points. It’s the first rewards program for Lowe’s small business credit customers.

In a prepared statement, Lowe’s president and COO Larry Stone said the Rewards Card “offers convenience and rewards at a time when business owners need it most.”

The breakdown of the points follows a simple plan: one point for every dollar spent on the card; double points for dollars spent at Lowe’s; and triple points for dollars spent on restaurant purchases, office supplies and wireless bills.

The announcement of the new card was made during the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.

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