Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Downturn?

I was convinced that Staples wouldn’t actually put a store at the corner of 48th and “O” Streets in Lincoln, Neb. The “Coming Soon” sign staked in the cleared ground had begun to fade, and the once pristine site was showing signs of accumulating debris.

I was wrong. A flurry of activity launched last week, and it is now clear that a new Staples is under way at one of my hometown’s busiest intersections.

Staples isn’t the only active builder. I received word a few days ago that development partners Steiner + Associates and Mall Properties were forging ahead with the new mixed-use project in Hampton Roads, Va. -- Peninsula Town Center. The 1.2-million-sq.-ft. development is slated for a summer opening and will feature upscale retail, dining and entertainment options, as well as significant office and residential components.

Another project marching forward is Northstar Communities, in Columbus, Ohio. Locally based Nationwide Realty Investors and The Robert Weiler Cos. cemented an equal partnership in the project in January, combining their residential and commercial development experience to add up to 832 single-family homes, two condominium projects, 1.5 million sq. ft. of retail and office space, and 810 acres of green space.

NRI is also beginning construction on the first phase of Grandview Yard next month, which is located less than two miles from Ohio State University and will encompass 1.5 to 2 million sq. ft. of retail, restaurants, office and residential units. When completed, Grandview Yard will bring 5,000 additional jobs to the City of Grandview Heights, Ohio, and will more than double the city’s income tax base by adding an additional $5 million annually.

My inbox has been flooded with more stories of projects that are marching forward, despite the downturn. And I’ll keep sharing those stories with you, lest you think the world of retail has gone silent. Do you have a project status report to share? E-mail me!

— Katherine Field

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