The major cities of Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas and Phoenix remain the region's stalwarts, while a population infusion ensures retail continuity.

Accelerated growth of major metropolitan areas in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas continues to attract new development and new residents to the Southwest. Suburbs such as Henderson, Nev., and Mesa, Ariz., are competing with bigger, urban counterparts such as Las Vegas and Phoenix, and, as a whole, the region has become a population, employment and retail magnet.

Population continues to soar Among the southwestern states, Texas shows the most impressive population growth. Dallas-based United Commercial Realty reports seven of the nation's fastest growing cities with populations of more than 100,000 are in the Dallas area. "Dallas is experiencing tremendous growth in terms of new development," says Mickey Ashmore, president and chief executive officer for United Commercial Realty. The average household income for Dallas County is $55,272, and development activity is brisk.

Other southwestern states are boasting strong economies, expanding residential populations and low unemployment rates. For example, according to Arizona Business, in the first quarter of 1997, Arizona's population surpassed the 4.5 million mark, and that state has gained at least 30,000 new residents for the 17th consecutive quarter.

These favorable demographics have spurred retail expansion. "There is a continuing demand for new retail," says Rob Ward, president for Phoenix-based Westcor Partners.

In nearby New Mexico, Albuquerque has witnessed an explosive 100 percent population growth since 1960, reports Albuquerque Economic Development. The city is expected to experience 14.2 percent growth this decade. "The Albuquerque market is very strong, and there is a lot of expansion in retail space," notes Drew Alexander, president for Houston-based Weingarten Realty Investors.

Reasonable land prices, low taxes, and dry, sunny weather continue to entice new residents to the Nevada desert. According to The Las Vegas Perspective Survey, the population of Clark County, Nev., home to Las Vegas, jumped 7.59 percent last year to 1.2 million people.

The survey also reports that, in 1996, more than 74,000 people moved to the area. As a result, "we have a lot of retail expansion going on," observes Kit Graski, first vice president in the Las Vegas office of Los Angeles-based CB Commercial Real Estate Inc.

Not only are the large cities of the Southwest experiencing a growth surge, but the smaller cities of Tucson, Ariz.; Reno, Nev.; Oklahoma City; and Austin, Texas, also are drawing new residents. According to a study by Houston-based CenterAmerica Property Trust, the population in the Austin metropolitan region increased 27 percent from 1980 to 1990 and is now 3 million. The number of households is projected to reach 1.2 million by 2001, the study says.

Tucson, Ariz., also is enjoying an economic boom. Last year, CB Commercial's 1997 Market Trends reported 8,000 new jobs were created in Tucson, a city with a population of 776,000. In northern Nevada, the Reno-Sparks area experienced population growth of 4.3 percent and job growth of 3.8 percent last year.

Even Oklahoma, which suffered a profound recession when the oil and energy industries declined a decade ago, has come back. The state's population has exceeded 3.3 million, while unemployment has dropped to 4.1 percent.

Supermarkets sustain retail strength Despite a buoyed economy, vacancies persist -- particularly as some big-box tenants leave the market. According to Dan Smith, senior vice president for Houston-based Transwestern Property Co., Kmart will be taking over stores vacated by Venture in a number of Texas cities. There also is a lot of trepidation in all markets concerning Montgomery Ward since it filed for bankruptcy protection, Smith adds.

In Texas, says Scott Riddles, chief operating officer and executive vice president for Dallas-based Staubach Retail Services, Kmart and Blockbuster Video have closed some stores. Best Buy and Incredible Universe also are closing their doors. Houston-based Furrow Building Materials closed nine outlets, unable to compete with Lowe's and Home Depot. In Tempe, Ariz., Fry's Electronics opened its first store in the Phoenix area in space vacated by Incredible Universe.

With big-box vacancies on the rise, most retail growth is in the form of supermarket and drugstore expansion. In Houston, three competing supermarket chains -- Randall's, Kroger and Albertson's -- have added 550,000, 420,000 and 325,000 sq. ft. of space, respectively, over the course of the 1990s, reports Houston-based O'Conner & Associates. Eatzi's Market & Bakery, a small gourmet grocery store, also has entered the Texas market. In Tucson, ABCO, Fry's, Bashas', Safeway and Albertson's are competing for marketshare.

In the Las Vegas area, another fixture of suburban expansion -- the drugstore chain -- has been on the move. Walgreen's is scouting a dozen locations, reports Graski, while Rite Aid has approximately 10 locations on tap.

Many entertainment and national retail chains have made their southwestern debut this year. In the Phoenix area, AMC will build a 24-screen theater complex, and Harkins, a regional company, has recently announced plans to build a 30--screen theater complex. Restaurants such as Earl's, On The Border, Macaroni Grill, Claim Jumper, Tony Roma's, and 5 & Diner are entering the Phoenix market.

Dallas has seen a big boost in tenancy by home furnishing players such as Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware. Lowe's home improvement store also has arrived in a number of Texas locations, and San Antonio picked up new clothing stores, including Tootsies, Harold's, Mumsies and Whole Earth Provisions.

Individual markets Oklahoma City. The metropolitan area continues to demonstrate a slow and steady growth rate, reports Mark White, associate in the Oklahoma City office of CB Commercial. "With a limited supply of quality space available, lease rates and sale prices are on the rise and should continue [upward] for the near future."

The city, which saw no new retail development in 1995, picked up three new shopping centers in 1996, adding about 133,000 sq. ft. of GLA to the city's mix. In the suburbs, a 360,000 sq. ft. power center was completed in Norman this year, and ground is being broken for another power center in northwest Oklahoma City.

"Oklahoma City is a good, stable market," says Weingarten's Alexander. "There is not a tremendous amount of space being built, so it is a market that is in nice balance." Weingarten's four community shopping centers, with a 4 percent vacancy rate, demonstrate the city's demand-supply balance.

Low vacancies have translated into improved rental rates as rates for Class A, anchored, unenclosed centers have climbed a healthy 7.2 percent in the last 12 months. "The more established neighborhood and community centers underwent major renovations funded in part by the increased demand and corresponding lease rates of late," White says.

Houston. With most new development completed in Houston two to three years ago, "There's not a whole lot of new construction planned except for neighborhood shopping centers. Most of the power centers have already been built," reports Smith of Transwestern Property Co.

In 1996, eight shopping centers were built in the Houston area, adding 875,000 sq. ft. of space. This year, the major development activity is driven by supermarket build-out. Grocery stores opening or planning additional locations include Randall's, Kroger, Albertson's and H.E.B., says George Weatherall, executive vice president for The Weitzman Group, Dallas.

Home improvement retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe's and Builders Square also are looking for space, but other big-box users are not very active. "Everybody realizes the power center market is overbuilt in some areas, and Houston could be considered one of those areas," says Jeffrey Duke, director of market research for CenterAmerica Property Trust.

Lack of major new construction should not be taken as a sign the Houston market is slowing, Duke adds. "Retail in Houston is very strong," he notes.

According to Duke, retail sales last year totaled $42.3 billion, up 7.4 percent over 1995. This year, annual retail sales are expected to climb to $45.9 billion. Among the new retail concepts to enter the Houston market are Eatzi's and Mars: The Musician's Planet, a category killer for musical equipment.

Dallas/Fort Worth. "With one of the strongest economies in the nation, the Dallas/Fort Worth area continues to attract retail expansion and to post strong retail market gains," says Herbert Weitzman, president and chief executive officer for The Weitzman Group.

In 1995, Dallas/Fort Worth added 23 new shopping centers totaling 2.1 million sq. ft. A year later, the dual cities added 20 shopping centers totaling 3 million sq. ft. This year, several more centers, including a number of power centers, are being built, reports Ashmore of United Commercial Realty.

Neighborhood shopping centers are being driven by intense competition among supermarket chains Tom Thumb, Albertson's, Kroger, Winn-Dixie and Minyard, a regional grocery store chain.

Despite new construction, in-line space in new development is currently renting for $16 to $20 per sq. ft. or more, compared to $15 to $18 per sq. ft. a year ago, Weitzman says.

Dallas is one of the few Texas cities with inner-city retail development. "We are starting to see a lot of residential growth happening uptown as well as downtown, and we are seeing a lot of big-box retailers trying to do more deals in the inner city," says Riddles. Among the companies already making the move are Home Depot, Target and Lowe's.

San Antonio. The city holds bragging rights to strong economic numbers. According to The Weitzman Group, from 1990 to 1996, retail sales jumped 45 percent, the second strongest in Texas. San Antonio also ranked second in the state for retail sales per capita ($10,938).

Retail activity continues to be strong, but "unlike the past few years when much of the activity was spurred by expanding big-box tenants, we're seeing the majority of activity in the form of junior and grocery-anchored retail tenants," observes Mike Birnbaum, executive vice president in the San Antonio office of The Weitzman Group.

Austin. The city ended last year with the highest occupancy rate (92.5 percent) of any major market in Texas, says Tom Terkel, executive vice president in the Austin office of The Weitzman Group. "The market should end 1997 with an occupancy rate nearing 94 percent due to limited construction activity and strong retail demand," he says.

Many retailers are attracted to the Austin market due to its high occupancy rates. Downtown's Market Place is expected to gain Target, OfficeMax and a Loew's Theater complex; and the Arboretum area, a strong submarket, is attracting a new Act III theater.

"Austin occupancies and rents are up," says Smith of Transwestern Property. "And several submarkets, in particular the Arboretum area, are doing extremely well, meaning there is not a big supply of space left."

As in other Texas cities, a number of community shopping centers are either under construction or planned in Austin. Albertson's has taken an aggressive position in Austin by adding new stores. H.E.B also is opening two new stores and is renovating and expanding three of its 23 existing Austin area stores.

Albuquerque. In 1995, Albuquerque's retail vacancy rate was a slim 5.4 percent, according to the 1997 Greater Albuquerque Commercial Real Estate Market Report from CB Commercial. However, a spike in new development added 1.5 million sq. ft. of space last year, and vacancies rose to 7.5 percent.

This year, new development slowed, but, by mid-year, 500,000 sq. ft. was under construction. "The Albuquerque market is very strong," says Weingarten's Alexander. "There is a tremendous amount of growth."

Power centers have not yet played out in Albuquerque, and there are two centers in development and a third that has just moved past the planning stage, reports Andrew Johnson, associate in the Albuquerque office of CB Commercial.

Previous development of the power centers has brought a host of big-box retailers to the city for the first time. Over the last two years, Borders Books & Music, Old Navy Clothing Co., Mik- asa, Circuit City, CompUSA, Linens 'N Things, and Bed Bath & Beyond have made their entry into Albuquerque.

Neighborhood shopping centers are expanding, driven by competing supermarket chains such as Albertson's, Smith's and Furr's. Lease rates will remain at $12 to $15 per sq. ft. for well-located, grocery-anchored centers, says Johnson.

Phoenix. According to CB Commercial, the metropolitan area's expansion has been so dynamic that developers are finding it difficult to locate sites for new projects. Phoenix-based Vestar Development Co. is building a new 520,000 sq. ft. power center, but, according to David Larcher, vice president for Vestar, "This is the last [large center] that we foresee being built for several years."

Vestar will be changing its focus to neighborhood shopping centers, where most of the action is these days. The company has six projects currently in development.

Phoenix-based W.M. Grace Development Co. also is completing, constructing or planning six shopping centers. "We are as busy as we have ever been," says Howard Grace, vice president for the company.

Phoenix now boasts 82.4 million sq. ft. of retail space, and the vacancy rate is a steady 7.94 percent. Construction continues, mostly because absorption has been very strong. According to CB Commercial, absorption was 3.6 million sq. ft. last year.

Las Vegas. This fast-growing metropolitan area really consists of two markets: The Strip, which is the main drag through the city and home to most of the casinos; and the burgeoning suburban areas, where most of the people who work for the casinos, offices and government live.

The Las Vegas metropolitan area has at least 1 million sq. ft. of power center development proposed or under construction. According to Graski with CB Commercial, at the beginning of the year, non-Strip retail totaled 33.5 million sq. ft. and had a vacancy rate of 6 percent. Average rental rates in new, non-Strip shopping centers have climbed 30 percent over the past two years, reaching approximately $32 per sq. ft.

"Over the last couple of years, the demand for goods and services has just been so fantastic, we had to concentrate on those needs," says David Grant, vice president of retail properties for Henderson, Nev.-based American Nevada Corp. Last year, the company opened Green Valley Town Center in Henderson, and two shopping centers are currently under construction just 1 1/2 miles apart.

While such new retailers as Longs Drugs, SteinMart and Old Navy Clothing Co. recently opened in the Las Vegas area, the biggest impact has been made by restaurant openings. Among the new concepts to hit town are The Cheesecake Factory, Crocodile Cafe, Chin Chin, Cozymel's, Gordon Biersch, Harley Davidson Cafe and Motown Cafe.

Economic growth is solid Major metropolitan markets in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada continue to perform well, spurred by a healthy economy and an influx of new residents, while the Oklahoma economy continues to improve slowly. Regionally, suburbs are prospering from the economic overflow, providing a healthy market for retailing.

Secondary cities also are enjoying protracted development. Most shopping center activity is grocery and drugstore driven, while power center development has tapered off. With healthy vacancy rates and steady population growth on the horizon, the Southwest looks ahead to continued retail expansion.

Steve Bergsman is a Mesa, Ariz.-based freelance writer.

Arizona * Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc. is planning to renovate and expand Park Mall in Tucson. Two new department stores and a movie theater complex will be added to the 848,000 sq. ft. regional mall next year. The center currently is anchored by Dillard's, Macy's and Sears.

* Newport Beach, Calif.-based Koll Real Estate Group and Miami-based Lennar Partners Inc. are de-malling Tower Plaza in Phoenix. The 600,000 sq. ft., multi-level, enclosed mall will re-open in fall 1998 as a 450,000 sq. ft., single-story, value-oriented community shopping center. Most of the existing center will be demolished, and a grocery store, national and specialty retailers, and restaurants will join the center. Existing tenants Ice Chalet, Peter Piper Pizza, Payless ShoeSource and RadioShack will remain in the reconfigured project.

* Phoenix-based Westcor Partners is expanding Scottsdale Fashion Square in Scottsdale. The 410,000 sq. ft., regional mall will grow to 1.8 million sq. ft. next September with the following additions: Nordstrom department store; a 50-store corridor linking the existing mall to Nordstrom; a porte cochere, which will serve as the center's grand entry and will house three restaurants; and the expansion of existing anchors Robinsons-May and Neiman Marcus.

* This month, The Mills Corp., Arlington, Va., is completing Arizona Mills in Tempe. The 1.2 million sq. ft., enclosed superregional value and entertainment center features the following tenants: Sega GameWorks, American Wilderness Experience, Off Rodeo Drive Beverly Hills, Rainforest Cafe, Off 5th - Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet, IMAX theater, Linens 'N Things and Burlington Coat Factory.

* Phoenix-based Vestar Development Co. is building six shopping centers in the state. The largest, Deer Valley Towne Center (505,000 sq. ft.) in Phoenix, will feature a 30-screen AMC Theater complex, Target, OfficeMax, Ross Dress For Less, PetsMart, and Barnes & Noble when construction is completed in fall 1998.

Vestar also is expanding/renovating two shopping centers: Ahwatukee Foothills Towne Center (1 million sq. ft.) in Phoenix and Scottsdale Pavilions (1.2 million sq. ft.) in Scottsdale.

Vestar Property Management has two expansion/renovation projects under way. The addition of an entertainment component to Mariposa Mall (357,000 sq. ft.) in Nogales will add approximately 25,000 sq. ft. to the center. Current anchors include Kmart, JCPenney, Beverages & More, and Southwest Grocers. The center is owned by Phoenix-based Jaren Corp. In downtown Phoenix, Vestar Property Management is redeveloping Town & Country Shopping Center (338,128 sq. ft.). The project will involve reformatting existing tenants and retenanting to reposition the specialty retail center. The center is owned by Hartford, Conn.-based Travelers Insurance Co.

* This month, a grand re-opening celebration will take place at Foothills Mall in Tucson. The 500,000 sq. ft. center, which recently was remerchandised as an outlet, off-price, entertainment and dining center, welcomes new tenants such as Off 5th - Saks Fifth Avenue, Barnes & Noble, Nike Factory Outlet, Donna Karan Company Store and Thunder Canyon Brewery this year. In addition, existing entrances were reconfigured, new entrances were added, floors were refinished with a Southwestern hand-painted design, and a children's play area was created. Future plans for the center include a 300,000 sq. ft. expansion, which is scheduled to begin in late 1998. The center is managed by Tucson-based Bourn Properties Inc.

Nevada * Indianapolis-based Simon DeBartolo Group Inc. and Los Angeles-based Gordon Group Holdings held ribbon-cutting ceremonies in September for the expansion of The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. The 283,000 sq. ft. expansion doubles the size of the project, bringing the GLA to 526,000 sq. ft. Tenants include FAO Schwarz, Fendi, Polo/Ralph Lauren, NikeTown, Virgin Megastore, The Official All Star Cafe and restaurants Cheesecake Factory and Chinois. The centerpiece of the expansion is the 85-ft.-high Roman Great Hall, which features "Atlantis," an entertainment feature in which animatronic figures enact the mythical tale of Atlantis against the back drop of giant projection screens that display special effects. It also includes a 50,000-gallon saltwater aquarium. The center is managed and leased by Simon DeBartolo Group.

* Las Vegas-based Las Vegas Sands Inc. has announced that construction is under way on The Grand Canal Shoppes, an upscale, indoor retail center at The Venetian Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The design of the 1.6 million sq. ft. retail/hotel/convention complex, which is being built on the site of the former Sands Hotel, will be reminiscent of Venice, Italy, complete with a 1,200 linear ft. Grand Canal, a fleet of gondoliers, arched bridges, cobbled walkways and themed facades. Phase I will total 500,000 sq. ft. and will include 90 upscale retail stores, a hotel tower with 3,000 suites and approximately 115,000 sq. ft. of casino space. The mall's centerpiece will be a reproduction of St. Mark's Square set beneath a 70-ft., skylike ceiling. Managed by Cleveland-based Forest City Management, The Grand Canal Shoppes is expected to total approximately 800,000 sq. ft. when completed in spring 1999.

Showcase in Las Vegas * This fall, M&M's(R) World and Ethel M(R) Chocolates opened at Showcase in Las Vegas. Owned by Las Vegas-based Makena Development Corp. and Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises, the four-story, 200,000 sq. ft. "power entertainment center" features World of Coca-Cola, Sega GameWorks, Official All Star Cafe and United Artists. The final tenant, an interactive M&M's(R) World entertainment venue, will open in May 1998. A phase II expansion is planned next year for the center.

* San Diego-based TrizecHahn Centers is building Desert Passage At Aladdin at the Aladdin Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The 450,000 sq. ft. specialty retail and entertainment complex will be designed with an Arabian Nights theme and will feature a 7,000-seat performing arts theater, specialty stores and restaurants. The project is expected to be completed in fall 1999.

In a joint venture, TrizecHahn and Gordon Group Holdings Ltd. are constructing Fashion Outlet Of Las Vegas in Primm at the California/ Nevada border. When it opens next summer, the 100 stores and restaurants at the 400,000 sq. ft. phase I of the specialty/entertainment outlet center will be anchored by Primm Valley Resort/Casino. Design features include courts reminiscent of Times Square in New York and Palm Beach, Fla. Phase II is planned for 1999. In addition to retail and gaming, the center will be the home of the Desperado roller coaster and a 36-hole, Tom Fazio golf complex.

* Las Vegas-based Santa Fe Gaming Corp. will build Santa Fe Hotel/Casino as a fifth anchor at the Galleria at Sunset in Henderson. When it opens in 1999, the 300-room hotel/ casino/entertainment complex will be attached to the 1 million sq. ft. regional mall, enabling shoppers to access the project's gaming facilities and ice arena. The mall, which is owned by Forest City Enterprises, is currently anchored by Dillard's, Robinson-May, JCPenney and Mervyn's.

* Construction will be completed in May 1998 on North Mesa Plaza in Las Vegas. According to Santa Monica, Calif.-based Watt Management Co., the center's manager, the 500,000 sq. ft. regional power center will include Wal-Mart, Payless Drugs, Blockbuster Video and Safeway/Vons. The project is owned by Santa Moncia-based Retail Center Partners.

* Las Vegas-based Laurich Properties is developing five Lucky supermarket-anchored projects in Las Vegas. Ashley Park Plaza (86,000 sq. ft.), Craig Plaza (150,000 sq. ft.) and Buffalo Plaza (150,000 sq. ft.) will open next year. Lakes Plaza (85,000 sq. ft.) is scheduled to open by the end of this year. Northshore Plaza (150,000 sq. ft.) opened in July.

* Build-out continues on Best In The West Power Center in Las Vegas, a development of Las Vegas-based Best West L.P. The center will total 450,000 sq. ft. when it is completed in January 1998, and will feature Best Buy, Borders Books & Music, HomePlace, Jo-Ann ETC., Old Navy Clothing Co., and PetsMart.

* Las Vegas-based Stephanie Street L.L.C. is building Stephanie Street in Henderson. The 400,000 sq. ft. power center will feature Barnes & Noble, Circuit City, Copeland's Sports, HomePlace, OfficeMax, Organized Living, and Old Navy Clothing Co. It is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.

* Newport Beach, Calif.-based Donahue Schriber Realty Group is the owner and developer of two Las Vegas neighborhood centers. El Dorado Village (110,000 sq. ft.) will be anchored by Albertson's grocery store when it opens in fall 1998, and Las Palmas Village (115,000 sq. ft.), which opened in October, features Vons grocery store and Payless Drugs. Both projects are managed by Newport Beach-based Donahue Schriber.

* Phoenix-based Opus West Corp. opened Galleria Commons in Henderson in September. The 268,239 sq. ft. power center is anchored by Home Base, Baby Superstore, SteinMart, CompUSA and TJ Maxx.

* Henderson-based American Nevada Corp. is building three projects in Henderson. Build-out continues on Green Valley Town Center, a 155,000 sq. ft. "town center" which features outdoor shops, recreation and entertainment venues. Phases III and IV will include 120,000 sq. ft. of specialty retail space, a Marriott Courtyard and Marriott Residence Inn, Wells Fargo bank, and BankWest of Nevada when construction is completed by the end of next year.

The company also is building Paseo Verde Plaza. The neighborhood shopping center, which has been designed with jogging and biking paths leading directly to the site, will total 110,000 sq. ft. when it is completed in spring 1998. The 60,000 sq. ft. phase I is anchored by Albertson's.

Construction continues for Pebble Marketplace, a 160,000 sq. ft. neighborhood center. Phase I, which totals 110,000 sq. ft., is anchored by Smith's Food and Drug and also includes Coldstone Creamery, Starbucks and Mail Boxes Etc. Phase II will total 50,000 sq. ft. when it is completed in June 1998.

New Mexico * Mid-West Acquisitions Inc., Chicago, expects to break ground on Galleria at Renaissance in Albuquerque by the end of the year. The 300,000 sq. ft. power center will feature Gart's Sports, PetsMart and Price Costco when phase I opens in mid-1998.

Oklahoma * Dallas-based Sapphire Properties is building Belle Isle Station in Oklahoma City. The 900,000 sq. ft., mixed-use center will feature Linens 'N Things, Old Navy Clothing Co., Ross Dress For Less and Party City. Leased by Dallas-based United Commercial Realty, the center is scheduled for completion late next year.

* Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc. is expanding two regional malls in Oklahoma. In Norman, Dillard's will open a second 38,000 sq. ft. location at Sooner Fashion Mall next year. It joins anchors Sears, JCPenney and Service Merchandise at the 432,000 sq. ft. regional mall. In Oklahoma City, a 24-screen AMC Theater complex will be added to Quail Springs Mall, which is currently anchored by Dillard's, JCPenney, Foley's and Sears. The food court at the 1.1 million sq. ft. center also will be renovated and expanded from 450 to 725 seats, and will accommodate four new tenants. A November 1998 completion is planned.

Texas * Last month, The Mills Corp., Arlington, Va., along with Atlanta-based Kan Am U.S. and Indianapolis-based Simon DeBartolo Group Inc., opened Grapevine Mills in Grapevine. The 1.5 million sq. ft. value retail and entertainment center, which is the first project of this nature to open in the Southwest, includes Mikasa, Off 5th - Saks Fifth Avenue, Virgin Megastore, Burlington Coat Factory, Rainforest Cafe, Sega GameWorks, The American Wilderness Experience and a 30-screen AMC Theater complex. All entrances and the interior of the one-level, enclosed development feature Texas-themed architectural elements.

* Los Angeles-based The Price REIT and Austin, Texas-based Baybrook Ltd. recently completed Arboretum Crossing in Austin. The 182,010 sq. ft. power center, which opened in April, is anchored by Circuit City, Baby Superstore, DSW Shoe Warehouse, Just For Feet and Mikasa.

Also, The Price REIT and Houston-based Fry L.L.C. are developing Home Depot Plaza in Houston. The 471,380 sq. ft. power center will be anchored by Home Depot. It is scheduled to open in June 1998.

* Dallas-based United Commercial Realty is leasing three new projects: -- Las Palmas Marketplace (620,000 sq. ft.) in El Paso includes a 20-screen Cinemark Theater complex. Scheduled to begin in fall 1998, phase II will feature Petco. The project is owned by El Paso, Texas-based A.D.D. Development L.L.C. -- Southlake Town Square (2.5 million sq. ft.) in Southlake will be completed in 2010 and will feature retail and office components. The project, which is owned by Southlake-based Cooper & Stebbins, will be configured to resemble a town square with a city hall, park and band pavilion. Phase I will include 400,000 sq. ft. of retail and office GLA and will feature The Gap, Gap Kids, Victoria's Secret, Chico's and Toys Unique! when it opens in late 1998. -- Phase I of Watauga Towne Center in Watauga will feature a 92,152 sq. ft. retail component anchored by Albertson's when it is completed next summer. The project is owned by Houston-based Weingarten Realty.

* Next month, Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. will celebrate the grand opening of Alamo Quarry Market in San Antonio. The 530,000 sq. ft. project incorporates buildings from the former Alamo Cement Plant -- including the smokestacks and rock crusher building -- and will feature retail and entertainment components. Tenants will include Restoration Hardware, Laura Ashley, Whole Foods Markets, Borders Books & Music, Bed Bath & Beyond, Harold's, Old Navy Clothing Co., OfficeMax, On The Border, Canyon Cafe, and Pottery Barn.

* The Jaffe Cos., Austin, completed Huebner Oaks Center in San Antonio in March. The 270,000 sq. ft. "lifestyle center" features Borders Books & Music, Bed Bath & Beyond, Old Navy Clothing Co., Pier 1 Imports, and a 24-screen AMC Grand Theatre complex.

* Houston-based American General Life and Accident Insurance Co. is expanding two centers: Town & Country Mall in Houston and Pasadena Town Square in Pasadena. A 140,000 sq. ft. Saks Fifth Avenue store opened in September at Town & Country Mall, joining existing anchors Dillard's, JCPenney and Neiman Marcus. This month, Pasadena Town Square will grow from 580,000 sq. ft. to 740,000 sq. ft. with the addition of a 160,000 sq. ft. Sears store. Current anchors include Dillard's, Foley's and Palais Royal. Both projects are managed by General Growth Properties Inc.

* Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc. is building two malls in Texas: Stonebriar Mall at the Bridges in Frisco and Circle T Center in Westlake. Stonebriar Mall, a 1.2 million sq. ft., two-level superregional center will include four major department stores; a three-level, multi-screen theater complex; restaurants and big boxes when it is completed in summer 1999.

In Westlake, General Growth Properties and Fort Worth-based Alliance Development are planning Circle T Center. The 1.3 million sq. ft., two-level, enclosed superregional center will feature six department stores, a theater complex and small shop space when build-out is completed in 2000.

General Growth Properties expanded Deerbrook Mall in Humble. In July, the regional mall grew from 1.1 million sq. ft. to 1.2 million sq. ft. with the addition of JCPenney, which joined anchors Sears, Mervyn's, Macy's and Foley's.

* Indianapolis-based Simon DeBartolo Group Inc. is renovating/expanding six Texas shopping centers: -- A 100,000 sq. ft. expansion, including the addition of a food court and Finish Line, is being completed this month at Barton Creek Square in Austin. Earlier this year, a 55,000 sq. ft., 14-screen General Cinema theater complex opened at the center, while an existing 21,000 sq. ft., freestanding General Cinema theater complex was demolished to make room for a specialty restaurant. The superregional shopping center, which totals 1.4 million sq. ft., also will add a big-box retailer next fall. -- Redevelopment is planned at Irving Mall in Irving. The 1.1 million sq. ft. superregional mall will grow slightly as it is reconfigured to accommodate an expanded General Cinema theater complex; the addition of Barnes & Noble and Old Navy Clothing Co.; and the addition of two restaurants and two big-box tenants. Current anchors include Dillard's, Foley's, JCPenney and Mervyn's California. The project is expected to be completed in fall 1998. -- In February 1998, common area renovation will begin at the newly expanded La Plaza Mall in McAllen. In August, Sears grew 29,000 sq. ft., and the mall welcomed a 180,000 sq. ft. Foley's store, which joined anchors Beall's, Dillard's, JCPenney and Service Merchandise. The mall's GLA totals 968,000 sq. ft. -- Richardson Square, an 867,685 sq. ft. superregional center in Dallas, which is anchored by Montgomery Ward and Sears, is being remodeled and remerchandised. The 867,685 sq. ft. superregional center's GLA will decrease slightly when a 143,000 sq. ft. Dillard's is demolished to accommodate a 28,000 sq. ft. Ross Dress For Less. SteinMart and Barnes & Noble will be added to the tenant mix, and the center will receive a new food court and undergo common area renovations. Completion is planned next summer.

Simon DeBartolo Group Inc. also has begun construction on Lakeline Plaza, which is being built next to Lakeline Mall in Austin. The 250,000 sq. ft. center will be anchored by Linens 'N Things, TJ Maxx, Toys "R" Us and OfficeMax. It also will include 60,000 sq. ft. of specialty retail space. Construction is scheduled for completion next May.

* Houston-based CenterAmerica Property Trust will complete redevelopment of six projects this year: Braes Heights (115,237 sq. ft.) in Houston; Brenham Four Corners Shopping Center (115,587 sq. ft.) in Brenham; Crossroads Shopping Center (133,102 sq. ft.) in Pasadena; The Crossing at Fry Road (221,837 sq. ft.) in Katy; Northshore (81,605 sq. ft.) in East Houston; and Parktown (102,251 sq. ft.) in Pasadena.

CenterAmerica also has four redevelopment projects in progress in Houston: Braesgate Center (86,429 sq. ft.); Hearthstone Corners (207,478 sq. ft.); Mt. Houston (176,342 sq. ft.); and Stella Link (101,130 sq. ft.). In addition, the company is redeveloping Plantation Plaza (94,820 sq. ft.) in Clute and Spencer Square (192,124 sq. ft.) in Pasadena.