Home Depot continues to expand its horizons Atlanta-based The Home Depot Inc. is opening up a new kind of store in Plano, Texas. This prototype is one of several new specialty stores the company is opening in order to meet the ever-increasing demands for do-it-yourself customers and professional trades.

The new stores will offer more than 15,000 flooring products including carpets, area rugs, ceramic tile, laminates, wood and vinyl, and wood flooring installation products, as well as an assortment of ancillary products such as blinds and wallpaper. The 45,000 sq. ft. store will include 33,000 sq. ft. of selling space and a full-service installation and warehouse area.

Virginia's Landmark Mall gets major redevelopment Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc. has proposed a two-phased redevelopment project of Landmark Mall in Alexandria,Va. The first phase consists of purchasing anchor JC Penney from Dallas-based J.C. Penney Co. Inc.

Two of the three-level former JC Penney facility will be leased to the May Department Stores company for the addition of a new Lord & Taylor. Lord & Taylor will build a new store in the 120,000 sq. ft. part of the old JC Penney. The new store is scheduled to open in fall 2001.

The second phase includes the opening of several new retailers, as well as the expansion and relocation of some existing stores. As of press time, no specific names had been disclosed pending final details. General Growth is currently studying the possibility of adding other large retail stores that would add to the mix of the mall. The additions would be added to the third level of the old JC Penney.

Integrated e-commerce site ready for mall shoppers River Town Crossings Mall in Grandville, Mich., is one of the first malls of its kind. Shoppers there can now shop via the Internet. By going to Mallibu.com, they can purchase any product from any retailer in the mall and pick up their purchase at a drive-up center or from the retailer.

Here's how Mallibu.com works: Shoppers can browse the Internet or buy on the Intenet from any participating store in River Town Crossings Mall. After placing an order, shoppers can pick up their merchandise from individual retail stores or from MallibuCentral, a drive-up fulfillment center in the mall.

General Growth Properties Inc. is one of the first shopping center developers to offer Mallibu.com with its shopping malls. The company currently owns 135 regional shopping malls in 37 states. General Growth's remaining 134 malls throughout the country will eventually participate in Mallibu.com.

Mixed-use village proposed for affluent Atlanta suburb Commercial development continues to grow in north metro Atlanta with the addition of Oakdale Park, a mixed-use facility. Depending on the leasing activity, construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2001, with completion slated for fall of that same year.

Introduced at the annual ICSC Spring Convention in Las Vegas, Oakdale Park is a village-style development in Vinings, an affluent North Atlanta community. Featuring turn-of-the-century architecture, the 50-acre Atlanta-based Paces Properties development will include a mix of high-class retail, boutique office and residential development.

The masterplan calls for 150,000 sq. ft. of open-air retail; 30,000 sq. ft. of second-story office development; and 49 residential homes located across from the development. The retail and office space will surround a park and amphitheater that will be a haven for entertainment and community gatherings.

New retail centers to hit Mexican ports Pasadena, Calif.-based MCG Architecture and Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. have joined forces to design two new cruise ports along Southern Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The retail ports will be located in Cozumel and Costa Maya. Tourists will be able to browse through a variety of local retail boutiques, art galleries or relax by sipping cocktails on a private beach.

In Cozumel, local developers are building a new 49,200 sq. ft. complex where Royal Caribbean is the anchor tenant. The architecture of the facility will reflect Cozumel's indigenous Mayan heritage, from the pier's entry portal to the shaded palapas along the beach. Construction is already under way and is slated for completion this fall.

Further south near the Belize border in Costa Maya, local developers are building a 68,880 sq. ft. complex, reflective of the Mayan heritage. Located on what was once a deserted beach and jungle, this complex will feature an array of shops, galleries and restaurants. Royal Caribbean will be the anchor tenant. Construction is slated for completion this month. More than 800,000 visitors are expected to visit the retail ports anually.

Las Vegas opens its first Kmart store in 10 years The drougtht is over, Troy, Mich.-based Kmart Corp. has returned to the market for the first time in 10 years. The retail giant recently opened its doors at the Parkway Plaza shopping center. Located at the corner of Buffalo Drive and Washington Avenue, the 120,000 sq. ft. Big Kmart facility includes a 12,000 sq. ft. Garden Center.

The last Kmart to be built in Las Vegas was at Craig Road and Rancho Drive in 1990 and has since been converted to a Big Kmart.

The 150,000 sq. ft. Parkway Plaza is also home to a SuperPawn store and Trader Joe's, which is scheduled to open later this summer.

ToysRUS.com office moves locations Toys RUS.com has signed a 10-year lease at Parker Plaza in Fort Lee, N.J. The toy store has leased 47,000 sq. ft. of space of the 19-story 300,000 sq. ft. office building, and will be moving its world headquarters in the third quarter of this year. The company is moving from Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

Parker Plaza was built in 1986 and offers unobstructed views of the views of the Manhattan skyline and New Jersey's Ramapo Mountains.

Two shopping center REITs merge Kranzco Realty Trust of Conshohocken, Pa., has merged with New York-based CV REIT to form Kramont Realty Trust, an umbrella REIT. Under terms of the agreement, Kramont will own and operate 84 shopping centers and manage six others, totaling 12 million sq. ft. of leasable space in 16 states.

CV REIT president and CEO Louis P. Meshon will retain the same titles with Kramont while Kranzco president and CEO Norman M. Kranzdorf will be chairman of the board of Kramont. Its headquarters will be in Plymoth Meeting, Pa.

Discover Mills displays its Southern hospitality in Georgia As a gesture of goodwill in Gwinnett County, Georgia, The Mills Corp. has donated 8.5 acres of green space at the future site of Discover Mills to county residents. The company also has awarded $25,000 to Annadale Village, a local organization that provides skills, vocational training and independence to developmentally challenged adults.

The presentation, which occurred in early June, was part of a larger concerted effort to befriend the community. Mills officials used the opportunity to answer some of the questions and concerns surrounding the 1.3 million sq. ft. project. In the words of Jim Dausch, senior executive for development for Arlington,Va.-based Mills Corp, "We are more than just a place to shop and be entertained, we are a part of the community."

Among the issues raised by residents is potential traffic congestion. Interstates 85 and 985 run adjacent to the development. Residents want to know what is going to happen when the mall opens and how traffic will be affected .

"I promise you that you won't have a traffic jam outside your house," says Erick Collazo, vice president and development director at Mills. "A park-and-ride shuttle will be set up so people will not have to park their cars at the shopping outlet. We will also focus on tour buses; when we bring customers down on tour buses it decreases the amount of traffic trips."

Mills is setting up multiple access points from major highways and roads to get into and out of the mall. Discover Mills is also looking to team up with local businesses to use their parking facilities.

Perhaps the biggest question is how Discover Mills will affect its two biggest competitors, the 1.5 million sq. ft. Mall of Georgia, which opened last year, and the 1.25 million sq. ft. Gwinnett Place Mall. These two malls are just five miles away, one to the north and the other to the south.

Mills does not think its development will drastically affect either mall. "We are a different kind of shopping outlet, we do not have your normal retailers," says Collazo. "We are more of an entertainment facility where you can bring the family and spend the day with us."

Apparently other developers are not overly concerned about the competition threat Discover Mills poses. "The Mills concepts are not directly competitive to retailers at Gwinnett Place or the Mall of Georgia," says Mark Toro, president of Atlanta-based North American Properties, LCC. "The Mall of Georgia and Gwinnett Place [Mall] will continue to thrive and have success."

The doors of Discover Mills are more than a year away from opening, but Mills officials recently announced four new tenants that will reside at the center. Among the anchors are Bass Pro Shops LP, FYE, Jillian's, as well as Saks Off-Fifth Avenue Outlet. They will be joined by more than 200 retail stores, as well as themed restaurants, multi-screen theaters and more.ti-screen theaters, mega video and music stores.