Pennsylvania REIT signed leases with four new retailers to occupy anchor space at Willow Grove Park, a 1.2-million-square-foot regional mall in Montgomery County, Pa. The space was formerly occupied by Strawbridge’s.

J.C. Penney signed a lease for 114,000 square feet on the first and second levels of the property. The department store chain plans to open its doors in the fall of 2012. Nordstrom Rack signed a lease for 41,000 square feet on the third level. It plans to open in the spring of 2012. Bravo Cucina Italiana signed a lease for 7,500 square feet on the third level. It plans to open in the fall of 2011.

In addition, Forever 21 agreed to move from its existing space to an expanded two-level, 17,000-square-foot store.

“Willow Grove Park is one of the most successful shopping centers in the Philadelphia area, with a longstanding reputation for providing quality fashion stores in combination with an exceptional and entertaining shopping experience,” said President of PREIT Services LLC Joseph F. Coradino in a statement. “As consumers search for value by cross-shopping from luxury brands to off-price retail, these new sought-after retailers and restaurants further cement the mall’s position in the marketplace.”

In separate announcements, PREIT signed leases at Cherry Hill Mall in Cherry Hill, N.J. and at Voorhees Town Center in Voorhees, N.J. with restaurants including The Cheesecake Factory, Chef Bobby Flay’s Bobby’s Burger Place, Grand Lux Café and Osteria Duo.

Financo Names New CEO, COO

Financo Inc. appointed Colin Welch as president and CEO. The appointment is part of the firm’s plan to expand its senior management team and global investment banking services. Welch will assume his new position in September and will be based in New York City.

In addition, Financo appointed Karen Goodman as COO. Both Welch and Goodman will help lead the firm’s future growth.

Welch has 20 years of experience in retail and investment banking and operations. Prior to joining Financo, he served as managing director and head of Europe, Middle East and Africa retail and luxury goods investment banking with Credit Suisse Securities Europe. Throughout the course of his career, his clients included Dollar Tree, The Home Depot, Michael Stores and the Neiman Marcus Group, among others.

Goodman has been with Financo since 1994. She formerly served as managing director.

Agree Points Williams as New Head of Investment

Agree Realty Corp. appointed Hedley Williams as chief investment officer. In his new position, Williams will lead the company’s investment activities, financing efforts, investor relations, asset level and portfolio risk assessment, portfolio balance and strategic planning.

Prior to joining Agree Realty, Williams served as CIO with Grand/Sakwa Properties. He is a member of NAREIT.

“We are extremely pleased to add Hedley to our leadership team,” said Agree Realty President and COO Joey Agree in a statement. “He brings extensive experience in the real estate industry, along with a wealth of transactional expertise to the company.”

Cafaro Negotiates Eight-Store Deal with Books-A-Million to Backfill Borders Stores

Cafaro Co. signed leases with Books-A-Million to lease seven Borders stores and one Joseph-Bech Booksellers store at eight of its malls. The locations will include Spotsylvania Towne Center in Fredericksburg, Va.; Millcreek Mall in Erie, Pa., Meadowbrook Mall in Bridgeport, W.Va.; Kennedy Mall in Dubuque, Iowa; Huntington Mall in Barboursville W.Va.; Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville, Ohio; Sandusky Mall in Sandusky, Ohio; and the Mall of Monroe in Monroe, Mich. The spaces will range from 2,300 to 20,000 square feet. All of the stores will be open in time for the start of the holiday shopping season in November.

Franklin Street Grows Its Management Portfolio with Five New Assignments

Franklin Street has been appointed as the management agent for five Southeast retail centers totaling 447,251 square feet of space. The new assignments increase the firm’s management portfolio by 30 percent.

Two of the assignments involve receiverships, including Tamiami Square, a 31,289-square-foot center in Naples, Fla. and Bessemer Shopping Plaza, a 159,642-square-foot center in Birmingham, Ala.

The remaining properties include Cortez Plaza East, a 169,330-square-foot center in Bradenton, Fla.; Lanier Commons, a 52,400-square-foot center in Gainesville, Ga. and Tapestry Park, a 34,590-square-foot center in Jacksonville, Fla.

Charter Realty Announces Storrs Center Ground Breaking

Charter Realty & Development Corp. broke ground on Storrs Center, a new mixed-use town center to be located adjacent to the University of Connecticut in the town of Mansfield.

At completion, the project will include approximately 200,000 square feet of retail space, 700 residential units, and significant open space.

Initial retailers will include the UConn Co-op, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Subway, Cosimos Pizza and others. The first phase of the project is expected to open in the fall of 2012, with a second phase following approximately one year later.

Storrs Center is a public/private partnership of the Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Inc., master developer LeylandAlliance LLC, and Education Realty Trust Inc. Charter Realty & Development is the commercial leasing agency for the project.

Morris-Floyd Capital Partners Breaks Ground for Worthington Center

Morris-Floyd Capital Partners broke ground for the construction of The Shops at Worthington Place, a 138,000-square-foot mixed-use center in Worthington, Ohio. The project is a redevelopment of the former Worthington Square property. Phase I is scheduled to be completed in December of this year, in time for the holiday shopping season.

Cassidy Turley is serving as the leasing agent for the property. M+A Architects is the project architect.

Panera Bread, Johnson’s Real Ice Cream and Swan Cleaners have already signed leases at the center. An existing Talbot’s is renovating its space.

Regency Theatres to Open at The Plant in California

Regency Theatres signed a 10-year lease with Decron Properties for a 72,200-square-foot space at The Plant, a power center in Van Nuys, Calif. Other tenants at the property include Home Depot, Babies ‘R’ Us, Ross Dress for Less, Michael’s and Anna’s Linens.

Hobby Lobby Commits to Three Locations at Inland Western Properties

Inland Western MDS Portfolio LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Inland Western Retail Real Estate Trust Inc., signed three leases with Hobby Lobby totaling 227,450 square feet to occupy former Mervyn’s locations in California. The leases include a 76,211-square-foot store in Temecula, a 76,248-square-foot store in Roseville and a 74,991-square-foot store in Rancho Cucamonga. Hobby Lobby plans to open its new locations in the fall of 2011.

Whole Foods New Stores Throughout the Country, Including its First Store in Detroit

Whole Foods Market signed a lease with the Irvine Co. for a 32,000-square-foot store at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, Calif. Construction on the store will start in the fall, with completion scheduled for the summer of 2012.

\The retailer also signed a lease with S.J. Collins Enterprises for a 40,000-square-foot store on Laskin Road in Virginia Beach, Va. The store is scheduled to open by year-end 2013.

And it signed a lease with Pam Realty Services for a 20,000-square-foot store at Mack Avenue and John R Road in Detroit, Mich. The deal involved a public-private partnership with the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.

The store will be the first Whole Foods Market to open in Detroit.

Burlington to Backfill Former Walmart Store in Texas

Burlington Coat Factory signed a lease with Eagle Pass South Bibb LLC for a 65,000-square-foot store at Mall De Las Aguilas in Eagle Pass, Texas. Burlington will occupy a part of a 100,000-square-foot box that formerly tenanted a Walmart store. Shawn Ackerman, executive vice president with Henry S. Miller Brokerage, negotiated this transaction.

Crayton Commercial Starts Construction on River Landing

Crayton Commercial started construction on the redevelopment of River Landing Shopping Center, a grocery-anchored shopping center in Fayetteville, N.C. As part of the project, Crayton will demolish a 43,780-square-foot former Kroger grocery store into four new spaces, redesign the building façade to incorporate new storefronts and doors, Install new rear loading pads and ramps, resurface the parking lot, and install new HVAC, lighting, plumbing and electrical systems, among other things. The company plans to complete the redevelopment in early 2012.

Three of the four new tenant spaces have already been leased to Dollar Tree, It’s Fashion Metro and SHOE SHOW.

Other Notable News

Nordstrom Inc. signed a lease to open a 35,000-square-foot Nordstrom Rack at North Point MarketCenter in Alpharetta, Ga. The retailer plans to open its new location in the spring of 2012. It will occupy a former Linens ‘n Things space.

Tuesday Morning signed a lease with Mesa Commons LLC for a 16,333-square-foot store at Mesa Commons in Mesa, Ariz. The retailer plans to open its doors in October. Cliff Johnston, John Appelbe and Chris Hollenbeck, of Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial, represented the landlord in the transaction. Jon Radus, of Studley Commercial, represented the tenant.

Tishman Construction Corp. appointed Leo Bandini as executive vice president, Los Angeles. In his new position, Bandini will be responsible for growing the company’s West Coast operations. In addition, Tishman promoted Martin O’Neill to first vice president of Tishman Technologies. He will lead the firm’s technology practice and data center construction arm. Bandini has 40 years of experience in the construction industry, with a focus on business development and client relations. Prior to joining Tishman, he worked at Webcor. O’Neill has been with Tishman for 11 years and has been responsible for some of the largest and most complex data centers in the company’s portfolio.

Centro Properties Group signed leases throughout its centers in the U.S. with tenants including Sally Beauty, Diamond Nails, YoGreen, Yes Buffet, Craig’s Shoe Company, J. Crabtree Fine Art, Pink & Lavender Boutique & Tea Garden, Key Bank, Shaolin Performing Arts, Besta One Italian Restaurant, Beauty Full Beauty Supply & Salon and Chase.

Anthropologie signed a lease with Douglas Development for a 10,500-square-foot store at 910-912 King Street in Alexandria, Va. The retailer plans to open the story by the end of the year. It will occupy a former Hallmark space.