REAL ESTATE

Aldi, Big Lots, and Ashley pick up some Toys ‘R’ Us stores

BY CSA Staff

The liquidation sale of some 800 shuttered Toys “R” Us stores that began in March has been proceeding slowly, but ticked up with some notable acquisitions in the past week.

Aldi, Ashley Furniture, Big Lots, and Raymour & Flanigan were winning bidders of Toys Stores, according to CNBC.

Many of the stores have been bought by mall and center owners looking to re-lease them, and retailers including Dick’s Sporting Goods have said they’ll be interested when rents go low enough, according to the network.

“I think there is going to be solid demand for these locations. Most are around successful malls with high barriers to entry, solid demographics, and high incomes,” Bill Read, executive VP of retail specialists, told CNBC. “The locations by ‘B’ and ‘C’ malls may take longer to sell or lease.”

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REAL ESTATE

Cirque du Soleil to open interactive centers in malls

BY CSA Staff

The level of entertainment in shopping centers just got taken up a couple of notches.

Cirque du Soleil, the world’s largest theatrical producer in the world, famed for long-running productions such as Totem and The Beatles Love, has decided to take its act to vacant Macy’s and Penney’s.

The troupe’s first installation will be in an unnamed mall in the Greater Toronto area in partnership with real estate firm Ivanhoé Cambridge, according to a report in the Toronto Star. Cirque du Soleil was started in 1984 by two Canadian street performers — Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix — and the company remains Canada-based.

Cirques “Creative Centres” for malls will average about 24,000 sq. ft. and offer interactive activities for visitors such as acrobatics, bungee jumping, high wire, and trampolines.

The Star reported that Cirque is in talks with other Canadian mall developers and intends to expand into the United States.

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Fast-casual concept looks to Northeast expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

An eatery that began as a walk-up counter in Midtown Manhattan in 2011 is looking to expand with a new prototype.

Melt Shop has opened a new location at The Westchester, a Simon Mall in downtown White Plains, New York. The sleek, modern format will serve as the prototype the company plans to use for all its mall locations moving forward.

Since the announcement of the company’s franchise program in late 2017, Melt Shop has signed agreements to develop 28 restaurants in key Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets, as well as the Middle East. The company debuted in Kuwait in January and has opened two of seven planned franchise locations in the market.

The Westchester location is corporate owned.

“While we are looking to grow our footprint through franchising, we also feel it’s important to continuously invest our capital into new corporate restaurants,” said Spencer Rubin, founder & CEO of Melt Shop. “It’s part of our commitment to maintaining the authenticity of our brand, as well as the commitment we’ve made to our franchise partners that we’re in this with them.”

Melt Shop is a part of Aurify Brands, a company that describes itself as equal parts hospitality group and restaurant incubator.

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