REAL ESTATE

North American Properties promises ‘future-proof’ retail

BY Al Urbanski

Along with death and taxes, it could be said, the future is also inevitable, so it makes sense for a challenged retail industry to take stock of it.

That could be the underpinning of the “future-proof retail” approach North American Properties is touting at the ICSC New York Deal-Making Show this week. According to the company, the three large-scale projects featured at the company’s booth all have one thing in common: community.

The three projects, two new and one re-do, are:

Riverton: Billed as the largest mixed-use project in New Jersey history, Riverton will turn 418 acres of on the Raritan River into a full-fledged community (including marina) at one of the busiest highway intersections in the Garden State.

Revel: This project is bringing the people to the entertainment instead of vice versa. Anchored by Georgia’s Infinite Energy Center, a leading event venue, Revel’s leasing agents won’t have to bother recruiting Cinemex or Dave and Buster’s. The destination will be completed Holiday 2019.

Colony Square: The Southeast’s first mixed-use project (built in 1968), Colony Square is being transformed into an arts-infused destination with 940,000 sq. ft. of office space, 260,000 sq. ft. of retail (including a food hall). a 466-room hotel, and 262 luxury residences in Midtown Atlanta. The first phase is set to open in July.

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REAL ESTATE

Augmented reality is Santa’s helper at Centennial malls

BY Al Urbanski

Even before they get to the Santa line, families shopping at Centennial-owned malls this holiday season are able to interact digitally with elves, snowmen, and reindeer positioned throughout the atriums.

The Dallas-based company gifted its customers with Centennial AR, an augmented reality app downloadable to mobile phones. Point the app at holiday character posters stationed throughout the properties, and 2D or 3D interactions with characters are summoned up.

Shoppers can use their camera function along with the app to place themselves in the scene and share it as a holiday greeting with friends and family.

“Our team is constantly evaluating opportunities that support not only our shoppers, but also our retailers and business partners,” said CEO Steven Levin.

Centennial partnered with digital media studio Clever Fox on the app, which is available for free via the App Store and Google Play.

Centennial properties include the Connecticut Post Mall in Milford, Conn.; the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, Ill.; the Brazos Mall in Lake Jackson, Texas; and the Vancouver Mall in Vancouver, Wash.

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REAL ESTATE

Judge bars Starbucks from closing stores in Simon Malls

BY Al Urbanski

In August, when Simon Property Group filed a breach of covenant suit against Starbucks for attempting to close 78 Teavana stores in Simon malls, one legal expert said Simon was drawing a line in the sand.

The bold move paid off for the premium mall owner when an Indiana judge temporarily barred Starbucks from executing the store closings. In a 55-page order, Judge Heather Welch opined that Starbucks was better positioned to sustain the $15 million hit for five months’ rent than Simon was.

“We are disappointed in the judge’s ruling and will continue to focus on finding a resolution,” Starbucks communicated in a statement.

Attorney Dana Kreis Glencer, a leasing specialist at the firm of Dawda Mann in Detroit, told Chain Store Age that Simon’s suit was filed on solid ground.

“Simon may be looking for a settlement, or they may be looking to create some good case law: ‘You violated your covenant to operate and you have to operate,’” she said.

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