Demand for retail space in Chicago has mixed results for '98 Mixed results in retail space showed that overall shopping center vacancy rates dropped from 9.6% to 8.5% at properties 50,000 sq. ft. or greater (excluding regional malls) in Chicago during 1998. This, according to a CB Richard Ellis survey, that says demand for retail space has outpaced a rebound in new construction. Also, in contrast, the survey reports that the vacancy rate on 10.8 million sq. ft. of strip shopping centers has jumped from 11.7% to 12.6% because of the absence of major anchor tenants. Older centers' plans include redevelopment or expansion in an effort to generate traffic.

Hall of Fame Golf Course in Tampa to become mall Construction has started on the International Plaza Mall. This 135-acre site, which is the former Hall of Fame Golf Course, will include retailers such as Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor and Neiman Marcus. The project will be more than 1 million sq. ft. and will cost $100 million. It is scheduled to open in 2001. Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Taubman Centers Inc. is the owner, and Atlanta-based Beers Construction Company is the contractor.

Park Promenade in Orlando, Fla., acquired for $9.1 million Park Promenade Shopping Center, Orange County, Fla., was purchased for $9.1 million. The major anchors of this 126,000 sq. ft., 13-acre center built in 1988, are Publix and Blockbuster Video. North Miami Beach, Fla.-based Equity One Inc., a real estate investment trust, was the buyer.

Five Florida neighborhood retail properties sold for $62 million Five neighborhood retail properties located throughout Florida, which include more than 1 million sq. ft., were sold for $62 million. Included in the sale was 640,000 sq. ft. of grocery-store anchored centers. Aztec Group Inc., a Miami-based real estate investment and banking firm, arranged the sale for partnerships affiliated with Miami-based M2 Realty. The purchaser was Florida Neighborhood Centers LLC, an entity of America's Capital Partners.

Retail center, built in 1929 in Times Square, returns to use as a hotel The 90,000-sq. ft., 16-story building at 120 West 44th St., originally the King Edward Hotel and most recently a mixed-use development, will be converted back to its original use as a hotel. New York City-based Jones Lang Wootton (JLW), an investment and corporate real estate advisory firm, has been retained by O&O Properties Corp. to lease the property.

Downtown landmark, The National Newark Building, to be restored The National Newark Building, a vintage 1930s structure at 744 Broad St., Newark, N.J., is to be restored. When completed, it will offer more than 600,000 sq. ft. of retail and office space. Using a mix of neo-classical and art deco architecture, the restoration will involve a complete overhaul of the building's systems and restoration of the exterior, including replacement of more than 1500 windows. Princeton, N.J.-based The Hillier Group has been selected as the architect by the Cogswell Realty Group.

Pacific Place, a 335,000 sq. ft., $175 million retail and entertainment complex, has opened in Seattle. This five-story building boasts a 12,500 sq. ft. skylight, which is designed to give shoppers the feeling of a European plaza.

Some of the retailers located in Pacific Place are Tiffany & Co., Cartier, J. Peterman, J. Crew, Il Fornaio and General Cinema Theater with 11 screens and 3,000 seats. Seattle-based NBBJ and Boston based-Elkus/Manfredi Architects Ltd. were the architects on the project. The general contractors were Seattle-based Sellen Construction and Lease Crutcher Lewis in a joint venture.