REAL ESTATE

Duane Reade opens big on Wall Street

BY Marianne Wilson

New York CIty — With its array of in-store services, expanded food offerings and unexpected amenities, the new Duane Reade flagship in downtown Manhattan pushes the envelope of drugstore retailing — and it does so with a style and ambience that sets it apart from the competition.

(View photos of the flagship store)

The 22, 000-sq.-ft. store is located in the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street (once the tallest building in the world), in a cavernous space that was formerly home to a bank. With its vaulted ceilings and marble columns, the refashioned interior combines the building’s historic architecture with decidedly contemporary elements, starting with a high-tech holographic “virtual” greeter that welcomes customers. In a nod to its location, there is also a NYSE ticker. The interior was designed by CBX, New York,

The new Duane Reade boasts a number of services, including a nail salon, hair salon and shoe shine station. A doctor is on hand in the pharmacy for consultation. The expanded food section is more like a mini-convenience store. It includes a juice bar, sushi bar, and refrigerated cases with such Big Apple favorites as pastrami from the Carnegie Deli and sandwiches from Zabar.

The store brings together many of the innovations that Duane Reade has been working on in recent years under one roof for the first time — and also brings the best of its parent company, Walgreens, particularly the latter’s pharmacy expertise.

“This store will serve as an incubator for new ideas,” said Joe Magnacca, president of Duane Reade and president of Daily Living Products and Solutions for Walgreens. “And where is makes sense, we will apply whatever works here to other locations, Walgreens as well as Duane Reade.” (Walgreens acquired the 258-store Duane Reade in 2010 for about $1 billion.)

The 22,000-sq.-ft. Wall Street location is the largest to date in Walgreens’ portfolio. But that will not be true by the end of the year, Magnacca said.

“We are looking to open flagships under the Walgreens banner, in select locations,” he added.

Some of the key highlights of the store include:

  • A big focus on fresh foods, with a sushi station complete with a chef, a juice bar with fresh-made smoothies, and an expanded natural and organic section containing fresh fruits, vegetables, wraps, sandwiches and salads. The overall food selection balances national brands with local, well-known vendors.
  • A Coca-Cola "Freestyle" machine dispensing 130 combinations of Coca Cola- owned fountain drinks;
  • A department-store styled beauty department offering before/after virtual makeovers, skin analysis, and an automatic fragrance sampler that will allow customers to try more than 40 different scents. Trained beauty advisors are on hand to assist customers.
  • The chain’s first pharmacy "Powered by Walgreens Pharmacy Network,” concept, which links the system to the Walgreens pharmacy system;
  • No-appointment-required "Doctor On Premises" service;
  • A nail salon, done in partnership with Essie and OPI, that offers feature manicures in a boutique-like setting (in a space that used to house the office of banker David Rockefeller) accented with a chandelier, antique mirror marble fireplace;
  • The first retail application of the Tensator Virtual Assistant (see related story), which uses holographic imaging and audio-visual technology to create the illusion of a real person. Here it takes the form of a friendly female greeter who welcomes customers to the store.
  • A hair salon by Phyto Universe offering such services as hair/scalp analysis and blowouts;
  • A cell-phone charging station that will lock and charge the device while the customer shops;
  • A newstand stocked with papers from financial centers around the world; and
  • A shoe-shine station, with all proceeds donated to locally-based charities.

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Middlesex Commons undergoing redevelopment

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Burlington, Mass. — Columbia, S.C.-based Edens & Avant announced Wednesday details of its redevelopment of Middlesex Commons retail center in Burlington, Mass.

With a relocated and expanded Market Basket, Old Navy and a new Nordstrom Rack and DSW as key anchors, Middlesex Commons has been redesigned to better connect to the local community by offering a more dynamic retail mix and a more personalized shopping environment.

“Middlesex Commons has been an important part of Burlington since the 1970s but we recognized the opportunity to create a more community focused retail experience,” said Sam Judd, VP investments, for Edens & Avant. “In considering our redevelopment options, we wanted Middlesex Commons to look and feel like a natural extension of the surrounding neighborhoods while also creating an approachably elegant and inviting atmosphere where friends and neighbors can relax and reconnect with one another.”

The redevelopment began in 2010, and when complete, Middlesex Commons will have a fresh architectural aesthetic including new storefront facades and lighting, green screening and landscaping, a repaved parking lot, along with pedestrian-friendly walkways and public gathering places.

“Along with a new exterior aesthetic, we’ve also created a new merchandising mix that is now much more reflective of the changing demographics and evolving tastes of the surrounding community,” said Elizabeth Furnelli, VP leasing, for Edens & Avant.

Middlesex Commons will feature several new restaurants and retailers, including Market Basket, which relocated from a previous storefront and has expanded to 100,000 sq. ft.; Nordstrom Rack, which is opening a 38,000-sq.-ft. store on Sept. 8; DSW, which is slated to open a 15,000-sq.-ft. junior anchor store in early 2012; Burlington Wine, which is scheduled to open in September; and restaurants Burtons Grill, Chateau Restaurant and Five Guys.

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Regency acquires Calhoun Commons for $21 million

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Jacksonville, Fla. — Regency Centers said Tuesday it has closed on the acquisition of Calhoun Commons, a 66,150-sq.-ft. neighborhood shopping center located in Minneapolis and anchored by Whole Foods Market.

The property was purchased in an off-market transaction on July 1 for $21 million from Calhoun Commons Shopping Center Limited Partnership, a subsidiary of Doran Cos. and the original developer of the property.

Built in 1999, Calhoun Commons is a Class A shopping center anchored by a 49,471-sq.-ft. Whole Foods Market, along with national retailers such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Caribou Coffee, Ben & Jerry’s and Noodles & Co. According to Regency, the fully leased center produces strong retail sales and high historical occupancy with more than 94% of the gross leasable area occupied by first-generation tenants.

With the acquisition of Calhoun Commons, Regency owns four retail centers in the Minneapolis market and has a fifth under contract. Regency’s Minneapolis portfolio totals more than 550,000 sq. ft.

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