Future Barcelona mall reaches 75% occupancy With nine months to go before doors officially open, Diagonal Mar Centre is already 75% preleased. Upon completion, the leisure center, located in downtown Barcelona, Spain, will be one of the largest malls in Europe at 935,000 sq. ft. Developed by Houston-based Hines, the three-level center will feature more than 240 stores, restaurants, an 18-screen AMC multiplex theater and an Alcampo hypermarket.

Hines has already received commitments from European retailers such as FNAC, The Body Shop, Furest, Mango and 80 other stores. Diagonal Mar Centre will include an underground 5,000-car garage, and the center will offer views of the Mediterranean Sea.

In addition to the retail portion, Diagonal Mar will also include 1,400 new residential units, three hotels with up to 950 rooms, two new office towers and the planned convention center and congress center for Barcelona.

Australian shopping center receives major redesign Thanks to a recent 560,000 sq. ft. expansion, Chadstone Shopping Centre, located in Melbourne, Australia, is now one of Australia's three largest shopping venues. The Los Angeles office of Baltimore-based architectural firm RTKL master planned and designed the new addition, which expands the center to 1.3 million sq. ft. The expansion includes a high fashion- and lifestyle-oriented district anchored by Myer and David Jones department stores.

More than 156,000 sq. ft. of international retailers are located between the three-level anchors, and the new wing lies under a curving, vaulted glass roof. RTKL designed Chadstone's previous expansion when a two-level galleria and two-tiered dome were added in 1989. Chadstone Shopping Centre is owned by Melbourne, Australia's The Gandel Group.

Old steel factory in Spain now a mixed-use facility The site of a former steel factory will now be the home of Vitoria, a 1.3 million sq. ft. mixed-use development located in the heart of Vitoria in northern Spain. The project will feature an estimated 1 million sq. ft. of retail and entertainment space, including a 129,000 sq. ft. hypermarket. Vitoria will also include a hotel and office space that totals 269,000 sq. ft. Spanish developer Promodeico selected the Madrid, Spain office of RTKL to design the project. A construction schedule has not been set.

Each building will have its own identity. The roof or "blanket" will cover the various retail and leisure blocks. The "blanket" will also extend to cover other buildings that house the hypermarket and free-standing retail units, as well as the public spaces that link all the components, including the hotel and offices.

New bio-technology campus for Ireland Bovis Lend Lease, a subsidiary of Sydney, Australia-based Lend Lease Corp., has teamed up with Jacobs Engineering Group to develop American Home Product's new $600 million bio-technology campus. Located at Grange Castle in south Dublin County, Ireland, the new facility will be part of Wyeth Medica Ireland's expansion of its local manufacturing operations.

The project will involve the construction of a 1 million sq. ft. BioPharmaceutical facility on a 90-acre site, creating one of Europe's largest integrated biotech campuses. A new drug development facility, a drug bulk substance facility and product facility are planned as well. Starting in mid-2004, the campus will develop and manufacture products in the therapy areas of rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, anti-inflammatory agents and child vaccines

Chelsea Japan opens second retail outlet center Tokyo-based Chelsea Japan Co. recently opened its second Japanese outlet center in five months. The center, Rinku Premium Outlets, 30 miles south of Osaka, Japan, is fully leased to 80 upscale tenants, some of which include Adidas, Bally, Coach, Mont Blanc, and Timberland. Chelsea Japan, a joint venture 40% owned by Roseland, N.J.-based Chelsea GCA, plans to expand the project in subsequent phases of development to 325,000 sq. ft. The factory center is currently 180,000 sq. ft.

"Chelsea Japan now operates the two largest premium outlet centers in the two largest markets, and we look forward to identifying additional development sites this year," says Leslie Chao, chairwoman of the joint venture.

The company, which is also owned by Mitsubishi Estate Co., one of Japan's oldest and largest real estate companies, and Nissho Iwai Corp., a conglomerated trading company, opened its first outlet center, Gotemba Premium Outlets, in July 2000, 60 miles from Tokyo.

In related Chelsea news, the factory center developer has changed its name from Chelsea GCA Realty to Chelsea Property Group, and its trading symbol on the New York Stock Exchange will change from CCG to CPG. The company's operating entity, Chelsea GCA Realty Partnership, will change to CPG Partners.

Trends in Canada's shopping center industry - There were 4,332 shopping centers in Canada with a combined 338.8 million sq. ft. of gross leasable area (GLA) at the end of 1999.

- Shoppers spent $99.4 billion last year, compared with $94.4 billion in 1998, or 45% of Canada's total non-automotive retail sales.

- Calgary and Vancouver together accounted for 1,083,000 sq. ft. of new GLA last year (ahead of all the other metropolitan areas) in Canada, worth $94.7 million in total construction value. Toronto's shopping center construction for the same period was valued at $11.8 million.

- Shopping centers in Canada employed 1.24 million people in 1999, representing 11% of the country's total non-agricultural work force.

- Jewelry is the hottest retail category - with an 8.6% increase in sales per sq. ft. last year over 1998, a 5.4% increase in home furnishings, and apparel sales up by 0.1%.

Dollar figures in U.S. funds Source: ICSC