Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Taubman Centers promoted David Weinert, 12-year vice president of leasing for its western region, to senior vice-president, heading up the company's entire leasing department. Weinert started out as a broker at Coldwell Banker's Chicago office, and joined Taubman in 1986. Weinert succeeds Courtney Lord, who will now consult for Taubman.

Paul Novak joined Winn-Dixie as chief development officer, responsible for the grocer's real estate, design and construction and overall asset management for 1,078 stores. A former executive vice-president and CEO for Burger King Corp.'s North America division, Novak is a 34-year expert in brand positioning and market planning. He will report directly to Winn-Dixie president and CEO Frank Lazaran.

Jerry Dietchle is leaving his position as corporate president of Cheesecake Factory to become president of an undisclosed private casual dining company, most likely Johnny Carino's in Texas. Dietchle joined Cheesecake nine years ago as CFO. Peter D'Amelio, formerly president of the company's Grand Lux Café concept, will replace Dietchle.

McLean, Va.-based JER Partners purchased the minority interest of Las Americas (above), a 370,000-square-foot open-air center near the Mexican border in San Ysido, Calif., buying out San Diego-based LandGrant Development for an undisclosed amount and becoming the development's sole owner. Following the recent completion of the Phase I, the development will add another 193,000 square feet this year, including building a new Neiman Marcus store.

Miami Beach, Fla.-based Equity One appointed CFO Howard M. Sipzner as executive vice-president, continuing his role as chief of finance. Sipzner joined the company in 1999 following a 15-year career with Chase Securities, Chemical Banking Corp. and Merrill Lynch. Equity One also promoted chief accounting officer David W. Briggs as vice-president and treasurer, reporting to Sipzner.

New York-based New Plan Excel Realty Trust recently bought Elk Grove Town Center, a 131,849-square-foot neighborhood center in Elk Grove Village, Ill., from Itasca, Tex.-based Hamilton Partners for $21 million. CB Richard Ellis' Chicago Shopping Center Investment Team represented New Plan. CB Richard Ellis also arranged the sale of Stony Creek Marketplace, a 153,803-square-foot community center in Noblesville, Ind., to Oak Brook, Ill.-based Inland Western Retail Real Estate Trust, for $25.7 million. The seller was Indianapolis-based Duke Realty Corporation 

Columbus, Ohio-based retail design firm Chute Gerdeman appointed Brian J. Shafley as president. Shafley, who previously served as the company's executive vice-president of design, specializes in retail environmental design, consumer trends and market analysis. Retailers included in Gerdeman's client list are Blockbuster, OshKosh B'Gosh, Red Lobster and YUM! Brands.

Mclean, Va.-based Wilmorite Properties started construction to expand Tysons Corner Center, a 2.1 million-square-foot, three-story enclosed mall in Washington, D.C. The developer plans to add another another 385,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space, including a new JCPenney, a 16-screen AMC Theatre and new parking terrace by August 2005.