Development Design Group Inc. (DDG) has been appointed as planner and design architect for the Tianjin City Culture Center Development, a 4-million-square-foot development project set to become the largest mall in China. The property will be located 20 minutes away from Beijing’s central business district and will be part of a 9-million-square-foot commercial and cultural center in Tianjin City. Tianjin Lecheng Real Estate Co. is developing the project.

“We are thrilled that our creative vision for a genre-defying retail concept is moving forward,” said Ahsin Rasheed, of Development Design Group, in a statement. “We look forward to working alongside some of our profession’s most forward-thinking and creative visionaries. The opportunity to be part of this celebrated assemblage of award-winning architects and designers is a real honor, and to do so on behalf of such a complex and ambitious project will make our work that much more inspired and fulfilling.”

Cafaro to Renovate Kentucky Oaks Mall

The Cafaro Co. will renovate Kentucky Oaks Mall, a one-million-square-foot mall complex in Paducah, Ky. The project will include interior and exterior upgrades, with new entrances, new signage, new public restrooms, upgraded HVAC systems and energy-efficient lighting, among other things. Cafaro plans to start the project in March, with completion scheduled for November 2011.

Watt Commercial to Renovate Alicia Towne Plaza

Watt Commercial Properties will renovate Alicia Towne Plaza, a 150,000-square-foot shopping center in Mission Viejo, Calif. The $6 million project will include the conversion of an existing 83,857-square-foot Mervyns building into a smaller space for L.A. Fitness, façade improvements, updated landscaping and new signage. In addition, Architects Orange will add “Moorish” design elements to the center, including refinished window and door frames, new trellis canopies and sconce light fixtures.

The new L.A. Fitness is scheduled to open in May 2011.

Centro Completes Multiple Deals

Bottom Dollar Food signed a lease with Centro Properties Group for a 20,685-square-foot store at Chalfont Village Shopping Center in Chalfont, Pa. Scott Dennis, of Fameco Real Estate, represented the tenant in the transaction. Ron Ruth served as an in-house representative for Centro.

Centro also signed a lease with Family Dollar for a 15,426-square-foot store at Brice Park in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Avi Abroms served as in-house representative for Centro in the transaction.

In addition, the company signed smaller leases with Ron’s BBQ & Fish Southern Soul and Silver Connection.

Daffy’s Signs Times Square Lease

Daffy’s signed a lease with Africa Israel USA (AFI USA) for a 28,119-square-foot store at the Times Square Building in New York City. The store is scheduled to open in early fall of 2011. It will bring retail occupancy at the property to 70 percent. Laurie Golub and Lori Ordover served as in-house representatives for the landlord in the transaction, in partnership with Spencer Levy and Josh Strauss, of Robert K. Futterman. Art Burak, of Burak Associates, and Monroe Kaufman, of Kaufman Realty Services, represented the tenant.

Other Notable News

Glimcher Realty Trust promoted Thomas J. Drought to executive vice president and director of leasing. Previously, Drought served as senior vice president and director of leasing with the firm. Glimcher also appointed Damion Sankovich as vice president of leasing. Sankovich has been with Glimcher since 2004, when he joined the firm as specialty leasing manager for River Valley Mall.

NAI Hunneman hired James B. Thomson as executive vice president. Prior to joining NAI Hunnenman, Thomson served as executive vice president with Newmark Knight Frank.

The Boston Chapter of the Retail Design Institute (RDI) elected Linda MacLeod Fannon as president. MacLeod Fannon serves as senior project manager with Elkus Manfredi Architects.

Goodwill Southern California (GSC) appointed Mark Einbund as director of real estate. In his new position, Einbund will be responsible for supporting the strategic growth of GSC. He has more than 30 years of experience in real estate.

S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. promoted Michael D. Gurley to director of retail brokerage and leasing. In his new role, Gurley will oversee the operations of the Norfolk retail leasing department, coordinate the company’s retail brokerage support and be responsible for the shopping center division at a local, regional and national level. Gurley has been with S.L. Nusbaum for 30 years.

BHDP Architecture promoted Brian Baker to project architect and Cindia Wren to project manager in its Cincinnati, Ohio office. The firm also promoted Samantha Delabar to senior interior designer and Michael Schulte to senior intern in its Columbus, Ohio office.