The recent international push by U.S. retail firms continues. Jones Lang LaSalle, which already has a retail presence in the United Kingdom and Australia, is taking its retail skills into Latin America. Jones Lang is moving into the Dominican Republic, having gained the leasing and marketing assignments for the 200,000-square-foot Malecon Center in Santo Domingo.

The Jones Lang LaSalle team, including retail group president and CEO Greg Maloney, will attempt to bring in established U.S. retailers to fill the space. Malecon is being developed by Jesus Rodriguez Sandoval. “It's a good growth market, interest rates are going down there and the peso has improved,” he explains. “And I think a big thing is that the Free Trade Act is going to help a lot because right now it's very costly to be able to sell goods there at a reasonable price.”

The Central American Free Trade Act, scheduled to take effect in the Dominican Republic this July, will immediately allow more than 80 percent of U.S. consumer exports to become duty-free.

To fill the availabilities at the Malecon Center, Jones Lang LaSalle will be looking for retailers who have previous experience in the Caribbean and South American markets. The company will hold a marketing event in September in an attempt to attract anywhere from 50 to 100 tenants.

“You know that [the property] will be run to a certain standard, so it's the opportunity to bring the standardization of management and ownership to this market,” says James de Winter, director of retail services for Latin America and the Caribbean with CB Richard Ellis. “And that legitimizes the shopping center and gives the tenants a comfort level.”