Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group entered into a contract to begin preparatory work on the Hudson Yards, a 26-acre mixed-use development project in New York City. When completed, Hudson Yards will contain 13 million square feet of commercial and residential space, including 5,000 residential units, a destination retail complex, a five star, 300-room hotel and a 750-seat public school, as well as 12 acres of public open space. Tishman Construction Corp. will handle the four-month deconstruction process to pave the way for the development, with construction scheduled to begin as early as 2012.

“The Hudson Yards represents the future of New York and the commencement of this preparatory work marks an important milestone in its development,” said Stephen M. Ross, chairman and CEO of Related Cos., in a statement. “Over 65 percent of Manhattan’s office stock is over 50 years old and New York City needs the modern, green, high-tech office space that only we can provide at Hudson Yards in order to retain our competitive advantage in the global market for corporate tenants. Over the past year we have made tremendous progress in developing the most commercially viable solutions for office tenants in New York. With unsurpassed transportation infrastructure, amenities, large flexible floor plates and generous tax incentives, we have created a compelling offering and the marketplace is responding.”

The Hudson Yards will benefit from a number of transportation investments around the site, including the extension of the Number 7 subway line, which will link the project to local and regional rail transportation.

The Domain Cos. to Build Mixed-Use Center in New Orleans

The Domain Cos. will develop South Market District, a mixed-use, transit-oriented development in New Orleans. The project will encompass a five-block area across from the Superdome and New Orleans Arena and will include 450 apartment units and 170,000 square feet of upscale retail, restaurants and entertainment venues.

Domain plans to break ground on the first phase of the development in late 2011, with completion scheduled for the second half of 2013.

RED Opens First Phase of CityScape in Phoenix

RED opened Phase I of CityScape, a 2.5-million-square-foot mixed-use development in Phoenix. Callison provided master planning, architecture and interior design for the project. Phase II, which will consist of a hotel and retail components, is currently under construction.

Watt Commercial Redevelops California’s Palo Woods Center

Watt Commercial Properties completed the redevelopment of Palo Woods Shopping Center in Harbor City, Calif. The $14 million project included the conversion of an existing Kmart building into two separate retail spaces, upgrading façade treatments and making improvements to landscaping, draining, lighting and the parking lot.

New Cinema Grill Signs Lease at Missouri City Shopping Center

TMJ Property Services and Pinnacle Alliance Fund Inc. purchased Missouri City Shopping Center, a 5.5-acre retail property in Missouri City, Texas, for new tenants AutoZone and Star Cinema Grill. Star Cinema Grill will occupy approximately 40,000 square feet of space, with nine theaters, 1,300 seats and a full restaurant and bar. Kristen Barker, of Wulfe & Co. Inc. represented Star Cinema Grill in its lease.

Divaris Appoints Susan McGee SVP of Leasing

Divaris Real Estate Inc. appointed Susan McGee as senior vice president of shopping center leasing in its Rockville, Md. office. In her new position McGee will be responsible for tenant and landlord representation and will support the expansion of the firm’s services in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. region. McGee, who at one point in her prior career worked at Divaris, has held leasing positions with Renaud Consulting and Carl M. Freeman Associates Inc., among other companies.

Regency to Renovate Baltimore’s Southside Marketplace

Regency Centers completed an interior and exterior store remodel of Shoppers Food & Pharmacy store at Southside Marketplace in Baltimore, Md. The remodel is part of a $7 million renovation taking place at the 125,146-square-foot neighborhood shopping center. Eventual upgrades will include a new exterior façade, new pedestrian plaza, updated architectural components and improvements to signage, lighting, landscaping and the parking lot. Completion is scheduled for May 2011.

In addition, Regency signed a 12,750-square-foot lease with Sports Lab, a sport-specific strength training, conditioning and rehabilitation center, at its Roswell Crossing shopping center in the Atlanta metro market. Andre Jones, of ICON Commercial Interest, represented Sports Lab in the transaction. The business plans to open its new location in January.

Regency also signed six smaller leases at Roswell Crossing and Powers Ferry Square, also in the Atlanta market. The tenants included Your Pie, Barkers Red Hots, Pretty Please, Pigtails & Crewcuts, Cup Cake Lingerie and Full Cup.

Other Notable News

ICSC promoted Jorge Lizan to vice president of business development. In his new position, Lizan will continue to manage business activities and programs in Latin America, in addition to managing new business initiatives for ICSC globally. Lizan has more than 15 years of experience in real estate.

Charles Dunn Co. hired Ron Azad as senior managing director of real estate services. In his new position, Azad will be responsible for overseeing the firm’s property management and asset management operations. Prior to joining Charles Dunn, Azad worked as managing director of portfolio management and development with Adler Realty Investments.

Grubb & Ellis Co. hired Richard L. Jarocki Jr. as managing director of debt and equity finance. Prior to joining Grubb & Ellis, Jarocki worked at Rock Financial Consulting, where he advised fund managers and financial institutions on debt vehicles and processes.

CB Richard Ellis appointed John Merrill as managing director and market leader for its Indianapolis operations. Merrill has been a part of CBRE’s investment properties group for the past 14 years.

Callison hired Shawn Rush as associate principal in its Seattle office. In her new position, Rush will focus on business development for the firm’s global retail studio. She has more than 25 years of experience in architecture and design.