REAL ESTATE

Fast-casual concept has big ambitions

BY Marianne Wilson

A start-up that specializes in melted-sandwiches made from high-quality ingredients is looking to go nationwide.

Melt Shop hopes to grow to 100 locations during the next five years across the U.S. and internationally via franchising. The brand, founded in 2011 in New York, currently operates six corporate-owned locations in New York, one at Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn., and one in King of Prussia, Pa. It recently expanded into the Middle East and will open seven locations in the region, with four opening in Kuwait by March 2018.

"Melt Shop has spent the last six years tirelessly perfecting our brand and business model. The timing is right to bring our New York-born fast casual concept to the world," said Josh Morgan, operating partner of Aurify Brands, Melt Shop parent company.

Part hospitality group and part restaurant incubator, Aurify Brands also owns and operates The Little Beet, The Little Beet Table, Fields Good Chicken, and Make Sandwich.

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PREIT sells Altoona mall for $33 million

BY Al Urbanski

PREIT, which has long been pursuing a strategy of unloading underperforming malls from its portfolio, announced it has sold the Logan Valley Mall for $33.2 million net of credits issued to the buyer. The new owner’s identity was not released.

The Altoona, Pennsylvania, mall — anchored by Macy's, J.C. Penney and Sears — had been turning in sales-per-square-foot of $324 versus an average of $475 for the rest of the PREIT portfolio.

"This transaction marks another key step in our capital and portfolio improvement plans," said CEO Joseph Coradino. "We are intently focused on being in tune with the future of retailing by curating a portfolio that continues to lead the way with a new and diversified tenant mix leading to earnings growth and driving shareholder value."

Whoever the new owner is gets a mall that appears to continue to be a lively player in a tertiary market, according to Yelp reviewers.

“If this mall wasn't destroyed by fire so many years ago, it wouldn't be what it is today,” wrote one. “You do have your 'high end' type of stores here where you can't find ones identical to them until you head about 50 miles in any direction.”

Wrote another: "I live in Pittsburgh now — the north hills to be more specific. I never thought that I would say that I miss the mall from back home! The Logan Valley Mall has everything you want and at affordable prices.”


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Report: The cities that line up with Amazon’s headquarters criteria are…

BY CSA STAFF

It didn't take long for cities across North America to throw their hat in the ring when Amazon announced it had initiated a search for a city in which to build a second headquarters.

In seeking proposals, Amazon laid out some very definite criteria, including population requirements (one million or more). CNBC examined the criteria and suggested that five cities are worthy of a close look by Amazon: New York, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston.

To read the CNBC report, click here.

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