The Kroger Co. appointed Jones Lang LaSalle to conduct a strategic review of a group of its retail assets for optimization strategies and to manage the disposition of some of its closed stores. Jones Lang LaSalle will work in tandem with Kroger’s divisional real estate teams on this assignment.

In addition to disposing of some of its assets, Kroger will evaluate purchasing new stores in key locations within its core markets, evaluate its debt loads and work with lenders and special servicers.

Emil Gullia, Tom Turley, Guy Ponticiello, Joe Brady, Geno Coradini and Brian Leonard will handle this assignment on behalf of Jones Lang LaSalle.

“Kroger has a long-standing relationship with and a strong commitment to the landlords of its leased stores, and strategic lease restructuring will deliver value to all parties involved, including ownership, co-tenants and its customers,” said Tom Turley, executive vice president with Jones Lang LaSalle, in a statement. “Our aim is to create mutually beneficial long-term lease solutions that not only ensure these shopping centers and their customers retain the best grocery anchor tenant but that owners and lenders continue to have well-performing retail assets on their books.”

BentleyForbes Creates Board of Directors

BentleyForbes, a Los Angeles-based privately-held national real estate investment firm, created a board of directors to guide its investment, organizational and growth strategies moving forward. As part of the process, Bentley Forbes appointed three independent directors to join its executive committee on the board. The board will include the following independent directors and executive leaders:

  • Eric Sussman, president of Amber Capital Inc., manager of Fountain Management LLC and managing partner of Sequoia Real Estate Partners and the Pacific Value Opportunities Fund. Sussman has also been a lecturer in accounting and real estate at the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management since 1995.
  • Roderick Wood. Most recently, Wood served as city manager with the City of Beverly Hills, Calif. He has also been city manager for Novato, Indian Wells and Escondido.
  • Douglas K. Freeman, senior managing director with First Foundation Advisors. Freeman also serves as adjunct professor with the UC Irvine School of Law.
  • C. Frederick Wehba, co-founder and chairman of BentleyForbes. Wehba is a standing member of the firm’s executive committee.
  • C. Frederick Wehba II, co-founder, president and CEO of BentleyForbes. He also serves as a standing member of the firm’s executive committee.
  • Anthony Manos, COO of BentleyForbes and its affiliated companies.

CBL to Shake Up Anchor Line-Up at Monroeville Mall

CBL & Associates Properties Inc. will redevelop the anchor line-up at Monroeville Mall in Monroeville, Pa. As part of the project, JC Penney will relocate to a new 110,000-square-foot store on the upper level of a former Boscov’s location. The one-level design will be in keeping with the company’s latest format. JC Penney’s current location will house a new 48,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art 12-screen Cinemark Theatre. CBL plans to complete construction for the new JC Penney store in the fall of 2012, following with the opening of the movie theater in late 2013.

Melrose, Stormin Norman and Godby Home Furnishings Sign Large Leases with Centro

Stormin Norman Trading Co. signed a 55,567-square-foot lease with Centro Properties Group for a location at Alexis Park in Toledo, Ohio. Robert Saggese served as in-house representative for Centro in the transaction.

  • Godby Home Furnishings signed a 40,000-square-foot lease at Meridian Village Plaza in Carmel, Ind. Don Williams, of Cassidy Turley, represented the tenant in the transaction. Bob Pionke served as in-house representative for Centro.
  • Melrose signed a 16,132-square-foot lease at North 45 Plaza in Houston, Texas. Abe Charski, of Abe Charski Interest Inc., represented the tenant in the transaction.
  • Melrose also signed a 10,000-square-foot lease at Centro’s Northshore West in Houston, Texas. Abe Charski represented the tenant in the transaction. Dale Davison represented Centro in-house.

In addition, Centro signed smaller leases with Universal Designz Hair Salon, Sweet Tomatoes Express, T-Nail, Beauty for Me, Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse, Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies, Greenberg Dental & Orthodontic, Amtex Auto Insurance and Payless ShoeSource.

Coyote to Upgrade Chapel Hills Mall

Coyote Management L.P. and Garrison Investment Group will upgrade Chapel Hills Mall in Colorado Springs, Colo. The project will include new monument sign upgrades at all entrances, new landscaping on the exterior and interior of the property, new lighting in court areas and entrance upgrades with added service court walls and Colorado-themed murals. The new owners also re-opened Guest Service facilities, which include a new MasterCard gift card program, strollers, lost and found and fax/copy service. A new mall website was launched in June.

In addition, Coyote Management hired Jennifer Hillard as new marketing director for the property. Hillard has more than 11 years of experience in the shopping center industry. She previously worked for General Growth Properties.

Regency Centers Signs New Deals

Ross Dress for Less signed a lease with Regency Centers for a 30,000-square-foot store at Pleasant Hill Shopping Center in Pleasant Hill, Calif.

In addition, Regency signed leases with three new tenants at Village at Lee Airpark in Annapolis, Md. Coldstone Creamery agreed to take 1,240 square feet, AT&T Authorized Dealer CellComm signed a 2,076-square-foot lease and Bay Tunes Guitars signed a 1,390-square-foot transaction. All three retailers plan to open in the fall of 2011. The deals bring the center’s occupancy to 98 percent.

TopGolf Joins Retail Line-Up at Village at Allen in Texas

TopGolf signed a 65,000-square-foot lease at the Village at Allen in Allen, Texas. It will be TopGolf’s largest site to date, including a triple-decker tee line, 5,000 square feet of private event space, a rooftop lounge terrace and a full service bar and restaurant. In addition, In-N-Out Burger also opened at the center.

Newmark Knight Frank to Market New York City Space

AvalonBay Communities appointed Newmark Knight Frank as exclusive leasing agent for 282-298 Eleventh Avenue in New York City. The property contains 25,000 square feet of corner retail space at the base of a mixed-use development including 700 residential units. Ross Kaplan and Stu L. Morden will handle this assignment on behalf of Newmark Knight Frank.

Sperry Van Ness, Promus Commercial Join Forces in San Diego

Sperry Van Ness and Promus Commercial merged their San Diego-based operations. The new company, Sperry Van Ness/Promus Commercial, will operate out of two offices, one located in San Diego and one in El Cajon, Calif. Lauri Greenblatt-Hines will serve as managing director/president of the new firm. Jim Taylor will be managing director/vice president and will focus on multifamily, land subdivision and distresses assets in Southern California. Scott Cook will be managing director/COO, Barbara Kreis will be senior vice president and Chuck Wise will be vice president. Sperry Van Ness/Promus Commercial will also employ a group of about 10 advisors, founding members of the firm.

Habitat for Humanity Signs Store Lease in New Hampshire

Southeast New Hampshire Habitat for Humanity signed a lease with Newington Realty Co. for a 19,000-square-foot Habit ReStore at 29 Fox Run Road in Newington, N.H. The store will be relocating from a current location in Dover. Chris McMahon, of NAI Norwood Group, procured the tenant. Jean Kane, of the Kane Co., represented the landlord.

Georgia Center Welcomes Five New Tenants

Five new tenants signed leases at Calle Real Shopping Center in Goleta, Ga. Petrini’s signed a 3,608-square-foot lease. Rudy’s Restaurant signed a 2,350-square-foot lease. Spice Avenue agreed to take 2,048 square feet of space. Backyard Bowls signed for a 1,088-square-foot location. In addition, JP Morgan Chase Bank signed a 4,700-square-foot lease. Phillip Kyle, of Epsteen & Associates, represented the landlord in four of the five transactions. The Towbes Group negotiated the Rudy’s lease.

Other Notable News

Colliers International hired Ann Natunewicz as national manager of retail research. In her new position, Natunewicz will lead the firm’s national retail real estate research efforts, oversee development of white papers, studies and analysis, and provide high-level business development support for brokerage and investment activities. She has more than 12 years of experience as a retail real estate researcher and strategist. Prior to joining Colliers International, she worked as director of research with Taubman Centers.

Linear Retail Properties LLC hired Bryan Furze as vice president of leasing and asset management. In his new position, Furze will be responsible for developing and executing asset strategies for the company’s properties throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. He will also oversee third-party property management and leasing brokerage service providers. Prior to joining Linear Retail, Furze served as vice president of acquisitions and development and asset manager with Crosspoint Associates.

Lucescu Realty opened a new regional office in Phoenix, Ariz. The firm hopes the new office will help grow its business in the Phoenix and Tucson market and position it for continued growth throughout Southwestern United States.

Expert JMS appointed Susan Dykman as executive vice president and COO. Prior to joining Expert JMS, Dykman served as executive vice president with Global Facility Management & Construction.

Hollister Construction Services completed ground-up construction for Eat at Joe’s Crab Shack, a 7,900-square-foot restaurant in Clifton, N.J. Dave Williams, John Funghini and Maria Parrella worked on this assignment on behalf of Hollister Construction. John W. Lister Architects was the architecture firm behind the project.