Rome, N.Y. - The signing of a lease with Staples at Freedom Plaza in Rome kicks off a major redevelopment of the center. Plans include a renovated parking lot, new facade and new tenants. The 25,609 sq. ft. Staples store will occupy a vacant portion of the center, which also features JCPenney, P&C Supermarket, Eckerd Drugs, Ponderosa and several smaller tenants. The project, expected to be completed in spring 1999, is a joint venture of Greenwich, Conn.-based Charter Retail & Development Corp. and Buffalo, N.Y.-based Benderson Development Co. Inc.

Orland Park, Ill. - Work is under way on Orland Park Place, which is being redeveloped into a 725,000 sq. ft. upscale retail center in Orland Park. Existing anchors include Montgomery Ward and Kohl's, which plans to expand its store by 32,000 sq. ft. Developer Hiffman Shaffer Associates Inc., Chicago, will be redeveloping the enclosed area between these two anchors, totaling approximately 424,000 sq. ft. Tenants that have already made plans to join the center include Barnes & Noble, Filene's Basement, Sportmart, DSW, Cost Plus World Market, Mikasa, Wickes Furniture and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Occupancy is anticipated for fall 1999.

High-tech lighting, special effects, and fountain and laser light shows will be part of the retail experience at The Shops at Sunset Place in South Miami when it opens next month.