REAL ESTATE

H&M expanding higher-end store banner in the U.S.

BY Marianne Wilson

London — Fast-fashion giant H&M doesn’t let any grass grow under its feet.

H&M is expanding its higher-end, minimalist-styled brand, COS (short for Collection of Style). The retailer plans to open four stores in the United States in 2015, starting this fall, with two new markets on tap. COS is also expanding into Canada, with stores set to open in both Montreal and Toronto later this year.

COS entered the U.S. last year with the launch of an e-commerce platform and two locations (in Los Angeles and New York City). It plans to enter a store in the Big Apple, on Fifth Avenue.

On the West Coast, COS will open in South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, California.

Additionally, COS will enter the city of Boston, with a store on Newbury Street. It’s also entering Texas, with a store in Houston’s River Oaks District. All the new locations will feature menswear and womenswear.

COS has a wide product range that is divided into a number of different concepts, incorporating fashion essentials, reinvented classics and modern trends for men and women.

COS has 125 stores in 26 countries in Europe, Asia, the U.S., Australia and the Middle East and currently retails online to 19 markets.

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ICSC urges Aug. 15-16 sales tax holiday in Massachusetts

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boston – Massachusetts will have a tax holiday the weekend of Aug. 15-16, if the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) has anything to say about it. The ICSC has sent a letter to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker asking him to sign the sales tax holiday legislation currently on his desk.

The annual holiday temporarily eliminates the 6.25% sales tax Massachusetts charges on most retail purchases. In the letter, the ICSC said that the retail real estate industry provides employment to more than 287,000 people in Massachusetts and that throughout the year, shopping centers in Massachusetts create more than $144 billion in state sales tax revenue.

The ICSC is also publicly expressing support for Congress to pass the Remote Transaction Parity Act (RTPA) that was recently introduced by Congressmen Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Steve Womack (R-Arizona). This bipartisan bill will close the online sales tax “loophole” that excuses consumers from paying sales tax on purchases made from online stores located in other states.

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$40.8 million revitalization of Island Walk is now underway

BY Melonie Messina

Palm Coast, Fla. — A transformation is underway. Branch Properties is in the midst of a $40.8 million redevelopment of the largest (and oldest) retail shopping center in Palm Coast, Florida.

Island Walk, once called Palm Harbor Shopping Center, is a 204,000-sq.-ft. center anchored by Publix Super Markets. Once completed in 2016, the upgraded retail destination will bring new and expanded tenants and amenities to the Palm Coast community in an effort to revitalize the city’s original core.

The recent announcement of the signing of several national retailers, restaurants and service providers includes Petco, Tuesday Morning, Hobby Lobby, Moe's Southwest Grill, The Brass Tap Craft Beer Bar (a new-to-market craft beer bar), Metro Diner — Jacksonville’s popular eatery as featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”– Chase Bank and more set to open throughout 2016. The center is currently 84% pre-leased with another 17,500 sq. ft. in active lease negotiations.

“Island Walk’s high-traffic location along a popular corridor along with the strength of the surrounding demographics made it a no-brainer for many tenants to not only join the center but also remain through the redevelopment,” explained Nick Telesca, president, Branch Properties, LLC. “To add to the mix, The Shopping Center Group leasing team has brought the ideal tenants to the mix that really create a valuable, balanced asset – shaping once again a popular destination for household retail and casual dining for the Palm Coast community.” The center is located at Palm Coast Parkway and Interstate 95, with an average daily traffic in excess of 45,000 vehicles. There are nearly 44,000 residents with an average household income of more than $60,700 within a three-mile radius and a trade area population of almost 100,000 consumers.

Branch Properties, in conjunction with Michael Collard Properties, acquired the site on May 16, 2015, from Chicago-based The Inland Real Estate Group.

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