Simon Property Group Inc., the country's largest owner, developer and manager of high quality retail real estate, announced that its Premium Outlets division will expand four Premium Outlet properties located in California, Florida, Illinois and Washington. Construction on these expansions is scheduled to begin in 2012.

These four expansions, totaling an aggregate of 450,000 square feet.

A 140,000 square foot expansion is planned for Desert Hills Premium Outlets, Cabazon, Calif., which will bring this Southern California retail destination to approximately 640,000 square feet. The center has sales approaching $1,000 per square foot. It currently has 130 stores, including Bottega Veneta, Brunello Cucinelli, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tod's and Tory Burch.

Simon will also expand the 550,000-square-foot Orlando Premium Outlets – Vineland Ave. by 80,000 square feet. The center has sales exceeding $1,300 per square foot. The center’s tenants include Burberry, CH Carolina Herrera, Coach, Cole Haan, DKNY, Dooney & Bourke, Etro, Elie Tahari, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Roberto Cavalli, Salvatore Ferragamo, Theory, Tod's, Tommy Hilfiger and Zegna.

The firm also plans to add 130,000 square feet to the 440,000-square-foot Chicago Premium Outlets, which features Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Coach, Elie Tahari, Gap Outlet, Giorgio Armani, J.Crew, Kate Spade New York, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sony, Theory and Vera Bradley among its 120 stores. The center currently produces sales of $700 per square foot.

Lastly, the REIT will expand the approximately 400,000-square-foot Seattle Premium Outlets

"We are pleased to be able to offer the tenant community so many choices for new store locations. These four outlets are extremely productive assets and with great retailer demand," noted John R. Klein, president of the Simon Premium Outlets platform.

CBL, Horizon Open the Outlet Shoppes of Oklahoma City

CBL & Associates Properties Inc. and Horizon Group Properties Inc. opened The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City on August 5, 2011, fully leased with 83 stores. Over 40 of the stores are new to Oklahoma City.

The center features designer outlets operated by Nike, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Polo Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Guess, Chico’s, Coach, Banana Republic, DKNY, J. Crew, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour, Levi’s and Carters.

“We are thrilled to open The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City fully leased,” CBL President & CEO Stephen Lebovitz said in a statement. We expect that this center will become a favored retail destination for Oklahoma City residents as well as another great reason for tourists to visit the city.” The center is expected to draw over six million visitors a year.

Built in a shopper-friendly racetrack layout, the center has covered tensile structure walkways to maximize comfort and convenience for patrons. It also features a large food court, children’s play area, center court stage with fountains and other amenities. Land is available at the site to construct an additional 60,000 square feet of outlet shops and out parcels are being marketed for sale for uses complementary to the center.

The firms estimate that the center will generate more than $120 million in estimated annual sales providing over $4 million of new local sales tax revenue for the city.

GGP Announces New Board Member

General Growth Properties Inc. announced the election of Mark R. Patterson as the newest member of the GGP Board of Directors. Patterson fills the vacancy left by Sheli Z. Rosenberg, who originally planned to be on the board through GGP's emergence from reorganization.

Patterson is currently chairman and chief executive officer of Boomerang Systems Inc., a manufacturer of automated robotic parking and storage systems, where he's been since June 2010. Patterson was previously managing director and head of Real Estate Global Principal Investments at Merrill Lynch. Prior to joining Merrill Lynch, Patterson spent 16 years at Citigroup.

Inland Leases 180,000 SF to Ross

Inland Real Estate Corp. announced that since December it has signed a total of six leases with Ross Dress for Less, a national off-price apparel and home fashion retailer, to occupy almost 180,000 square feet of the company’s available retail space. The new locations will be among the retailer’s first Chicagoland stores and are expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2011 and first quarter of 2012.

“We’re so pleased to provide Ross Dress for Less with ideal spaces for six of their new locations,” Scott Carr, president of property management for Inland Real Estate Corp., said in a statement. “Our shopping centers are community staples, presenting strong locations for Ross Dress for Less to enter the market. We’re looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with this growing retailer.”

The Ross stores will open in Inland shopping centers throughout Chicago’s suburbs, including Orland Park Place, Naperwest Plaza, Skokie Fashion Square, Crystal Point, Maple Park Place and Algonquin Commons.

In a separate announcement, Inland Western Retail Real Estate Trust announced that Reisterstown Plaza Associates LLC, one of its wholly owned subsidiaries, signed a lease with Big Lots to occupy a 35,000-square-foot location at the 796,733-square-foot Reisterstown Road Plaza power center in Baltimore, Md.

With the addition of Big Lots, the center will be more than 92 percent leased. The center includes 200,000 square feet of office space and is anchored by Home Depot, Marshall’s, Burlington Coat Factory, Shopper’s World and Giant Foods.

Henry S. Miller To Represent Bennigan’s

Henry S. Miller Brokerage’s Daniel Harris, senior vice president of the Dallas-Fort Worth retail division was recently awarded the assignment to exclusively represent Bennigan’s Franchising Co. in a statewide relaunch.

Harris will be responsible for locating prime real estate for franchisees throughout Texas in major metropolitan areas and for Bennigan’s flagship restaurant and training facility in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Bennigan’s new owners have been working to revitalize the restaurant concept since assuming control in late 2008. Under the leadership of CEO Paul Mangiamele, Bennigan’s is blending the best of its past with a contemporary new look and chef-driven menu innovations to create a neighborhood pub for the 21st century.

Bennigan’s new, smaller format is designed to be flexible to fit in many different sites, from end-caps and in-line spaces to freestanding pads. In addition, the company is developing a fast casual “Bennigan’s On the Fly” format suitable for airports, colleges and other non-traditional locations.

The first new 4,200-square-foot Bennigan’s prototype in Wisconsin was built to accommodate 180 seats and includes a patio area featuring a fire pit. Harris is now researching strategic locations for Bennigan’s Dallas flagship restaurant, which it is striving to open during the 4th quarter of 2011.

The flagship restaurant, as well as statewide franchises, will require 4,000 to 6,000 square feet of space. Currently Harris is looking in the North Dallas, Addison, Plano and Las Colinas areas.

Whole Foods Opens at Merchant’s Walk

Signaling the completion of its major redevelopment of Merchant’s Walk, Edens & Avant announced that Whole Foods Market officially opened at the Marietta, Ga., center.

The 45,000-square-foot Merchant’s Walk location is Whole Food Market’s eighth store in Georgia.

With a redevelopment that began in August 2009, Merchant’s Walk now includes major aesthetic and parking improvements; the expansion and renovation of Georgia Theatre Company's Merchant's Walk Stadium Cinemas; and the addition of regional and national restaurants and retailers that include Marlow’s Tavern, The Cook’s Warehouse, Seed Kitchen & Bar, ULTA Beauty, Mirko Pasta, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Pinkberry and Gigi’s Cupcakes.