REAL ESTATE

Vornado Supports Kmart Acquisition of Sears

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Vornado Realty Trust announced it would back Kmart Holdings Corp. in its proposed acquisition of Sears Roebuck & Co. Vornado, currently holding 1.18 million shares of Sears stock and a derivative position for another 7.9 million shares, said it would elect to receive stock in the new merger.

Paramus, N.J.-based Vornado raised eyebrows in the investment community last November when, shortly before the proposed acquisition was announced, it revealed that it had boosted its holdings in Sears to 4.3%. The announcement triggered speculation that Vornado was planning to redevelop some of Sears’ real estate, much of which is leased at below-market rates.

Sears’ shares have consistently traded higher since the merger was announced in November on the hopes that Vornado might team with a rival retailer to make a competing bid. Any spoiler would be forced to absorb $400 million in break-up fees, part of the Sears-Kmart agreement.

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REAL ESTATE

St. Johns Town Center Opens in Jacksonville

BY CSA STAFF

Jacksonville, Fla., Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group opened St. Johns Town Center, a 1.5 million-sq.-ft. open-air retail project in Jacksonville, Fla., comprised of a town center and a community center. St. Johns features Dillard’s, Barnes & Noble, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, Ashley Furniture, Designer Shoe Warehouse, JoAnn Fabrics, Old Navy, PETsMART, Pier 1, Ross Dress For Less and Staples. Restaurants complementing the retail offerings include The Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano’s and P.F. Chang’s. The center is 100% leased and committed.

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Grocery Outlet Adds Six New Stores

BY CSA STAFF

Berkeley, Calif., Responding to what it calls “consumer demand,” Grocery Outlet is expanding in the Northwest with the addition of six new stores in Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and Washington, and the relocation of two stores in Oregon. The new store openings bring to eight the number of stores that the value grocer has opened since November 2004 in the Northwest and Northern California. Each of the new stores will be run by Grocery Outlet independent operators, who have experience in other stores in the network. Grocery Outlet operates 118 extreme-value stores in the United States.

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