Design

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic — Southfield, Mich.-based retail strategy and design firm JGA Inc. recently designed the 50,000-sq.-ft. Casa Cuesta home store, which opened in December 2000. The home goods retailer opened inside locally based Centro Cuesta Nacional (CCN), one of the country's foremost grocery retailers. This store-within-a-freestanding-store is accented with warm earth tones and ceramic tile floors that hang beneath a curving ceiling that reaches heights of 28 feet in some areas. The addition of the second level to the existing store was the biggest challenge, says JGA.

CCN is the client, developer and owner of Casa Cuesta. The architect of record for the project was Pedro Dajer of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic-based ICM Architects.

Retailer roundup

London — Locally based Retail Stores PLC has committed to investing $5.8 million in renovating its luxury goods department store Liberty, on London's Regent Street. "During the course of the year we will be redefining our merchandise mix throughout the store," says Fiona Harrison, chief executive for the retailer. The newly designed store will reopen in late 2001, as reported by Dow Jones Newswires.

Paris — French food retailer Carrefour, the world's No. 2 retailer following Wal-Mart, has terminated franchise contracts with Bourges in Cher and Chasse-sur-Rhone in Lyon. In exchange, Carrefour will lease to Paris-based Group Hyparlo its hypermarkets of Orange in Vaucluse and Saint Egreve in Isere. Hyparlo operates 12 hypermarkets in France, three in Italy, and is moving into Eastern Europe with a store opening in Bucharest, Romania.

Paris — In related news, Carrefour SA has violated Chinese law by opening most of its 27 locations without approval from the central government. According to The Financial Times, all joint venture chain stores have been required to gain government approval since 1995. This law was made to prevent competition between chains. Though no action has been taken yet, sources say protracted negotiations are expected between the parties. Carrefour SA denies the report, as reported by Retail NewsBeat.

Business

New York — The U.S. Council for International Business announced Latvia as the newest member of the ATA Carnet system. ATA Carnet, also known as the merchandise passport, unlocks customs in more than 75 countries in Europe, Australia, Canada and Japan. "Clearing customs can be particularly vexing and often results in large cash outlays for duties and taxes," says Cynthia Duncan, USCIB vice president of carnet operations.

The U.S. currently issues 13,000 such documents each year, totaling $1.5 billion. Items making the distance with the help of ATA Carnet include computers, tools, apparel and jewelry.

New York —The Lend Lease European Real Estate Securities Fund is the second mutual fund launched by New York-based Lend Lease Real Estate Investments Inc. in the past year. "We believe the outlook for European real estate stocks is solid," says Matthew Banks, CEO of Lend Lease Real Estate Investments International.

Lend Lease is an integrated real estate funds management and services business comprising management of funds, projects, construction and property. Globally, the company provides equity and debt origination and management in public and private sectors, while managing $48 billion on behalf of its worldwide clientele.

Falls Church, Va. — The International Code Council developed five new safety standards for the built environment, including standards related to impact resistance from wind-borne debris, wind resistance of concrete or clay roof tiles, soil expansion, hurricane resistant residential construction, and amusement devices. These standards will work with the International Building Code.