Forest City Ratner has high hopes for the Brooklyn Atlantic Yards, a megaproject (a right) designed by Frank Gehry with six acres of parks. It would include retail, offices, apartments — and, if New York-based developer Bruce Ratner has his way — a basketball arena. Ratner is bidding for the New Jersey Nets, which he wants to move to Brooklyn…Smaller, more streamlined private companies say the big REITs are overstaffed and could probably trim some fat…Mall managers are the most important contributors to the success of any retailer, according to John Stec, senior vice president of real estate for Jo-Ann Fabrics…The New York metropolitan area is under-retailed as far discount stores go, according to Vornado Realty Trust. The city's current population density of 125,000 people per discount store compares to 51,000 people per discount store nationwide… Mexican casual restaurant chain Chipotle is blitzing New York City with 10 new locations next year…Edens & Avant is building bigger these days. The firm is opening the 450,000-square-foot South Bay Center near the Kennedy Library in Boston this month. Anchors include Super Stop & Shop, Office Max, Marshall's and Old Navy…Chico's FAS is testing its new lingerie concept — Soma, Italian for “body” — with 14 new stores for a potential rollout…Charming Shoppes divisions Catherine's and Lane Bryant are vacating malls and finding cheaper rents and more accessibility in community and power centers…Though the leasing game is “all about relationships,” according to one developer, several landlords said grocery and big-box tenants are the least loyal. While mall and lifestyle tenants often stick with developers with whom they have longstanding relationships, grocers to where the money is…REITs don't make good developers, according to David Kass of Continental Real Estate Cos.: “They're asset managers and can't compete with us on.”
While mall landlords keep pushing their tenants rents up to make their properties more salable, Doron Valero, president of community and neighborhood center-focused Equity One, says his company is more interested in sustaining the highest amount tenants can pay. “To run a tenant out to get an extra 50 cents is stupid. We're constantly checking our market conditions to ensure that we don't do that,” he says…CB Richard Ellis previewed the latest entry in the Harlem Rennaiscance Harlem Renaissance — Harlem Park. The 585,000-square-foot space (the tallest building in Harlem) will include 75,000 square feet of retail space. Scheduled to open in the fall of 2005 across from the famed Apollo theater, Harlem Park will include apartments, offices and a Marriott Courtyard. CB Richard Ellis's Eric Gelber says the leasing agent will consider everything from “big boxes to Gucci.” Mexican architect Enrique Norton has designed the project, developed by Magic Development Group.