REAL ESTATE

Countdown on for Toys ‘R’ Us

BY Marianne Wilson

The end is fast approaching for bankrupt Toys “R” Us.

The chain, which has been steadily liquidating its U.S. operations, will close all its remaining stores on Friday, June 29. The retailer has been promoting its going-out-on business sale on its Twitter feed.

On March 15, Toys “R” Us announced plans to shut down its U.S. operations. All its stores are now conducting final liquidation sales, with many shelves empty of merchandise, according to reports. The 16-ft., 550-pound fiberglass statue of the retailer’s iconic mascot, Geoffrey the giraffe, that once graced the lobby of its Wayne, N.J., headquarters has found a new home at Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

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Specialty coffee retailer in New York comeback

BY Marianne Wilson

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has big plans for New York City.

Nearly two years after it abruptly closed its 12 locations in the Big Apple due to a problem with the franchisee, the company announced plans to open 100 locations across prime real estate in New York City, beginning with Manhattan later this year. The stores will be opened through The Coffee Bean’s new franchisee, Hudson River Coffee & Tea, a venture made up of operators, developers and real estate experts.

“The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has maintained a steady growth rate over the past several years,” said John Fuller, CEO, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. “The return to New York is not only an indicator of our core strength as a leading roaster and retailer of coffee and tea, but also a strong indicator of our customers’ deep-rooted brand loyalty that exists across the globe.”

Based in Los Angeles, the chain operates more than 311 U.S. stores, primarily in Southern California, prima and more than 1,200 locations across 30 countries.

According to a recent poll from Siena College Research Institute, 62% of New Yorkers consume coffee on a daily basis, while 60% of those coffee drinkers have more than one cup per day.

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Michael Lebovitz named president of CBL

BY Al Urbanski

Michael I. Lebovitz, who for most of the last 30 years headed the development division of the company founded by his father Charles, has been named president of CBL Properties.

As new mall development wound down at CBL in recent years, Lebovitz re-focused his efforts on the redevelopment of current properties. He also led initiatives in technology advancement, business processes, and updated HR practices.

“I am thrilled to recognize Michael’s many contributions as well as his increased role in implementing CBL’s strategy and future growth with this promotion,” said his brother and CBL chief executive Stephen Lebovitz.

Michael Lebovitz devotes much his time to charitable and philanthropic pursuits, having served on the national boards of Jewish Federations of North America, United Way of Greater Chattanooga, and Hillel. He also was a member of the council and executive committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

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