Charlotte, N.C. - L.J. Melody & Co. recently arranged $19.5 million in financing for Providence Commons, a retail center in Charlotte, as well as a loan increase of $56.6 million for The Corner at Bellevue Square, a three-story retail building in Bellevue, Wash. Principal Commercial Funding LLC of Des Moines, Iowa, provided the permanent and construction financing for Providence Commons through Bill Hawthorne of L.J. Melody's Charlotte office. Hawthorne acted on behalf of Charlotte-based developer Crosland Retail, which also will lease and manage the center.

Permanent financing was placed for Providence Commons Phase I, a 70,800-sq.-ft. neighborhood center anchored by Harris-Teeter; construction financing was arranged for Phase II of the project, which consists of a 120,500-sq.-ft. freestanding Lowe's Home Improvement Center scheduled to open in April 2001.

Once the project is completed, Principal Commercial Funding plans to close a 10-year permanent loan of $19.5 million for the total 191,300-sq.-ft. shopping center.

Working from L.J. Melody's Seattle office, Michal Makar and Robert Filley arranged the financing for the $56.6 million loan increase with CIGNA Real Estate Investments.

The proceeds were used for various corporate activities, including construction of The Corner at Bellevue Square, a 118,000-sq.-ft. retail building adjacent to Bellevue Square regional mall.

Both properties are security for the primary loan and the loan increase. The Corner at Bellevue Square is anchored by Crate & Barrel and Borders Books.

Houston-based L.J. Melody & Co., a CB Richard Ellis company, is one of the largest real estate investment firms in the United States. In the past two years, L.J. Melody & Co. arranged $13 billion in commercial real estate transactions nationwide. L.J. Melody operates offices in 33 major metropolitan markets and maintains an asset management portfolio totaling more than $15 billion.

Pittsburgh - E-commerce systems that support online shopping may reduce the use of warehouses, but they generally rely on a transportation system that is more energy and pollution intensive, according to a "green design" team at Carnegie Mellon University.

The team, led by Carnegie Mellon's Chris Hendrickson, Lester Lave and H. Scott Matthews, found e-commerce orders require more packaging, making the environmental impact of packaging 2.5 times worse for e-commerce shopping.

Their research also shows that e-commerce orders sent via air generate three pounds of carbon dioxide per book. Fewer emissions result from walking to the local bookstore for the same item.

According to the researchers, the net effect of pointing and clicking at an online merchant to buy a Christmas present is not as harmless as it may seem. Although, online shoppers can save 30% to 50% less than through traditional retail methods, the net environmental impact may be worse, researchers said.

"As a society, we need to start thinking twice before having everything we buy shipped to us overnight. This requires airplanes and trucks. At the same time, we are frustrated by air traffic delays and long commutes, yet it is our consumption that in part is causing these problems," Matthews said.

Last year, more than 300,000 households ordered Christmas gifts via the Internet. That number is expected to jump to more than 1 million this holiday season.

The Green Design Initiative is a university-wide effort to apply an interdisciplinary, systems approach to improve environmental quality through a practical approach to pollution prevention and resource conservation.