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Al Urbanski

Real Estate Editor & Manager


October 2019

It’s no secret that a successful retail center of any kind in 2019 — be it an outdoor center or an enclosed mall — must re-jigger its mix to include a wide variety of food, beverage, and entertainment-based tenants.


February 2021

With malls stymied by pandemic-related closures and bankrupted tenants, Macerich finds its cash flow limited and has hired the PJT Partners investment bank to help it deal with a $1.5 billion revolving credit facility that comes due in July.

The pandemic’s historic super-charging of online shopping has forced nearly every owner-operator of enclosed malls to rethink their components.

The Gaylord convention center and hotel at National Harbor, located just outside of Washington, D.C., in Maryland, remains closed.

Two prominent developers of outdoor shopping centers have made Barron’s annual list of the 10 Most Sustainable real estate investment trusts.

In the 40 years since its beginnings in Tulsa, Stan Johnson Company, a real estate investment brokerage, has done $40 billion worth of deals. 

Shake Shack opened on Feb. 20 at RPAI’s new Circle East mixed-use development in downtown Towson, Md.

After herd immunity quells the threat of COVID-19 and masks are thrown away, retailers will still be feeling the ill-effects of the pandemic, according to Andy Graiser, co-president of A&G Real Estate Partners.

The achievement of herd immunity from COVID-19 in the United States—an occurrence that would drive crowds back to shops, restaurants, and theaters—could happen in July. Or April. It depends on whether you want to put more weight behind the estimates from the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.

One of the special aspects of the retail real estate business is that major malls and shopping centers become local focal points in scores, or even hundreds, of communities.

Avalon, the highly popular mixed-used center outside of Atlanta. is big on green spaces and gathering spaces but inventive with empty spaces, too.

Steve Grimes

Steven Grimes said that the unprecedented challenges of 2020 tested every facet of center owner RPAI’s business during an earnings call today, but he was optimistic about the year ahead. “The unemployment rate has declined, consumer confidence is

Westfield Valley Fair is one of the first retail centers to introduce ZenSpace work spaces, which the company describes as “SmartPods.”

The fastest-growing retail cannabis business in the United States saw its revenue rise 140% in 2020, fueled by a same-store sales increase of 63%.

Robert J. Congel

Congel, 85 years old, died peacefully at his home in North Syracuse on Feb. 3.

Federal Realty, owner and operator of more than 100 shopping centers and power centers, has named Jeffrey S. Berkes president and chief operating officer.

In 2014, North American Properties opened Avalon in Alpharetta, Ga. Since then, the retail scene northwest of Atlanta has not been the same.

After 17 years of working with and leading her family’s company, Andrea Olshan is stepping down as CEO of Olshan Properties.

Saugus Plaza Shopping Center, a northern suburb of Boston, has won a $33.5 million refinancing to add a new supermarket anchor.

As Centennial's president, Whitney Livingston would like to recruit more young people to work in what she thinks is the most fun and challenging segment of real estate.

What do retail tenants really want from their landlord?

True Food Kitchen announced it will open a new location at The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack, N.J.

After 55 years in business, Stock + Field, the Midwestern farm supply and outdoor equipment retailer, will be closing all 25 of its stores and liquidating all of its inventory.

Simon Property Group and its lender, Deutsche Bank, put Town Center at Cobb mall in Kennesaw, Ga., on the auction block this week and received no bids. The property is now returned to the bank.

A Southern California investor paid $12.5 million for an 83,743-sq.-ft. Basha’s-anchored neighborhood center in Mesa, Ariz., near the Eastmark master-planned community.

Like all malls and retail centers, PREIT is aggressively adding new food and beverage establishments to its tenant lineups and this Valentine’s Day wants to give its restaurant operators some extra loving care.

In the 10 years since the first restaurant opened, BurgerFi has added 124 locations. Now a new owner and a listing on Nasdaq figure to fuel the chain's growth.

Walmart, Amazon, Apple, and Target are the top four installers of solar capacity in the United States, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

In a first-of-its-kind deal for Unibail Rodamco Westfield in the United States, Silicon Valley’s Westfield Valley Fair has welcomed in Kitchen United to ramp up takeout orders and deliveries.

PREIT, which quickly exited Chapter 11 and got back to the business of reshaping its mall portfolio, has executed a lease for a self-storage facility at the Mall at Prince George’s in Hyattsville, Md.

Ingka Centres’ plan to move small-format Ikea stores into downtown shopping centers in major United States metros has just advanced further with Ingka Corporation’s purchase of 10,840 acres of Georgia forest land.

January 2021

Jennifer Pollock

Eleven-year Simon Property Group veteran Jennifer Pollock, who handled leasing at the Houston Galleria, has joined InvenTrust to manage leasing and development of its Houston properties.

Brookfield’s 2.4 million-sq.-ft. Ala Moana Center has introduced a new logo and its first consumer-facing marketing program in 10 years.

Joe Coradino

What mall owners everywhere started doing during the pandemic—replacing lost anchors with health care facilities, adding experiential tenants, giving failing properties back to the bank—Joe Coradino began doing almost 10 years ago at PREIT.

For retail renters and landlords in 2020, there was little middle.

Mall owners and operators who spent big money outfitting their enclosed spaces with state of the art air purification and sanitation systems might have helped make medical history.

“Boston’s like a ghost town, and it was always hustle-bustle,” said Mike Powers, senior VP of Tuscan Village. “It’ll come back, but it’s a wakeup call to the real estate market that things had gotten out of hand.”

Kimco Realty, an owner-operator of 400-plus neighborhood and mixed-use centers, has re-deployed the Tenant Assistant Program it introduced in the spring to assist its small-business tenants in applying for the second round of Paycheck Protection Program funds approved by Congress.

Traffic statistics at American malls in the early days of this year’s expanded holiday shopping season fell in step with the volume of COVID-19 cases being reported—except during gift-buying crunch time in December.

Like many retail real estate companies plagued by shutdowns during the pandemic, Tanger Factory Outlets suspended cash dividends to its shareholders. Now, with bolstered cash reserves of $80 million, the company has re-started making the quarterly payments.

Keen-Summit Capital Partners and its parent company, Summit Investment Management LLC, have opened a joint office in Chicago to expand their participation in distressed asset management in the Midwest.

The New York Life Insurance Company has hired Trademark Property Company to manage and redevelop the 1.3 million-sq.-ft. North Point Mall in Alpharetta, Ga.

Alaskan extremist groups intent on carrying protests over 2020 election results to The Dimond Courthouse in Juneau, Alaska, came close to taking it to the Dimond Center Mall in Anchorage instead.

The re-invention of its business platform that helped win PREIT a swift exit from Chapter 11 protection in December will see one of its first executions at Moorestown Mall in the Philadelphia metro area.

Sunrise Mall, the first two-level mall in Long Island when it opened in 1972, was sold by Unibail Rodamco Westfield for $29.7 million.

PREIT, which exited from Chapter 11 protection in December just a month after it filed for it, has added one of the nation’s fastest-expanding supermarkets to its mall re-tenanting menu.

Major United States metros have taken a huge hit from COVID-19. To get a view on the street in New York, we went to Ron Dickerman, the founder and president of Madison International Realty.

One of the saddest effects of COVID-19 is seeing much-loved dining spots close. Will new ones take their places?

Stephen Yalof, who directed Simon’s Premium Outlets division for six years before joining Tanger Factory Outlets as COO, has transitioned into the CEO spot at the company.

Brookfield Asset Management has launched a bid to acquire all the limited partnership units of Brookfield Property Group it does not already own and take the big mall-owner private.

Two years ago, Turnbridge Equities and Denali Partners purchased Cary Towne Center in Cary, N.C., for $31 million with plans to tear down the mall that had lost its Sears, Macy’s, and J.C. Penney’s and replace it with a mixed-use town center. 

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