New England Development and Brendon Properties started construction on Northborough Crossing, a 600,000-square-foot open-air retail center in Northborough, Mass. The development will mark the first major new retail project to be built in Massachusetts in the past several years. The project required private investment of over $100 million and will generate approximately 600 construction jobs, in addition to creating 1,200 permanent jobs when completed.

The center is already 90 percent pre-leased, to tenants that include Wegmans, Kohl’s, Babies ‘R’ Us, Toys ‘R’ Us, Michaels, PetSmart, T.J. Maxx and Golf Town. It is scheduled to open in 2011.

“Northborough Crossing is sure to be an ideal shopping and dining destination for the residents of the Boston Metro-West and Worcester regions,” said Stephen Karp, chairman and CEO of New England Development, in a statement. “This is a great location and having the first Wegmans location in New England will expand the trade area.”

Northborough Crossing is part of a 175-acre master-planned community which includes 382 residential units currently in development by Avalon Bay Communities Inc.

Callison Forms Joint Venture with Chinese Firm

Callison and HAYA Architects, an architecture and design firm based in Beijing, entered into a joint venture to form Callison (China) . The new venture will enable the firm to offer full architectural and retail design services for the fastest growing economy in the world. Callison has worked in China for 20 years and has completed projects there, including the Grand Gateway, Yueda 889 and Greenland Riverfront CBD, among others.

HAYA Architects has provided commercial architecture and store design for many Beijing-based residential and mixed-use projects, including retailers like Wangfujing and Nike. Its sister company, HAYA Retail, provides construction and fixture design turnkey services.

“Callison is a global firm bringing international experience and perspective to our work in China, and we also value the insight and unique expertise of domestic companies like HAYA,” said Bill Karst, Callison (China) chairman, in a statement. “Our focus is in line with the rapid urbanization of the country and will help to create intelligent growth. We feel it is critical to offer our clients the value of both companies’ capabilities as we navigate this dynamic China market.”

Philips Edison Appoints Robert Myers as COO

Phillips Edison & Co. appointed Robert F. Myers as chief operating officer. In his new position, Myers will lead daily operations and develop strategies to ensure the company’s continued growth. Myers has been with Phillips Edison since 2003. Prior to this appointment, he served as senior vice president of leasing and operations.

Filene’s Basement/Syms Come to Brooklyn

Filene’s Basement/Syms signed a 40,000-square-foot lease at 490 Fulton St. in Brooklyn, N.Y. Crown Acquisitions and certain funds within the Perella Weinberg Partners’ bought the 250,000-square-foot mixed-use property this summer.

Discount Store Signs Lease at Buckingham Square

Fallas Discount Stores signed a lease with Buckingham Station LLC for a 25,000-square-foot store at Buckingham Square Shopping Center in Richardson, Texas. The store will open in mid-December. Shawn Ackerman and Byron Seamands, of Henry S. Miller Brokerage LLC, represented the tenant in the transaction. Pat Kelly, of Phillips Edison & Co. , represented the landlord.

CB2 Comes to Washington, D.C.

CB2, a home furnishings retailer, signed a lease with EastBanc Inc. for a 12,875-square-foot store on M Street in Washington, D.C. This will be the chain’s first store in the region. The space being taken over by CB2 formerly belonged to Staples and was recently occupied by the Georgetown branch of the D.C. Public Library. The retailer plans to start construction on its store in early December.

City Sports, a regional sports retailer, also signed a lease with EastBanc Inc. for a 10,434-square-foot store on M Street in Washington, D.C. This will be the chain’s flagship D.C. location. City Sports plans to move into the space in November.

Centro Signs 14 Express Leases with Toys ‘R’ Us

Centro Properties Group signed 14 leases with Toys ‘R’ Us for its pop-up concept, Toys ‘R’ Us Express. The pop-up stores will go into Centro’s properties in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Marc Newman, of Centro Properties Group, represented the landlord in the transaction.

Other Notable News

Grosvenor Americas appointed John T. Roberts to its board as a non-executive director. Roberts has more than 20 years of experience in commercial real estate. Previously, he served as president of AMB Capital Partners LLC. While in that position, he raised more than $4 billion in equity for AMB’s co-investment funds and joint ventures.

The MGHerring Group chose Cadence McShane Construction Co. to complete assignments at the Village at Fairview and the Village at Allen in Texas. The firm will build out a 13,000-square-foot tenant space for Daired’s Salon & Spa and a 20,013-square-foot tenant space for Real Bookstore. Cadence McShane’s Dallas office will handle these assignments.

CBRE/Grossman Retail Advisors hired Kevin Higgins as senior vice president of retail services. In his new position, Higgins will represent anchor retail tenants in store expansions and will handle urban and suburban leasing assignments. Higgins has 25 years of experience in retail real estate. Prior to joining CBRE/Grossman Retail Advisors, he served as executive vice president with Katz & Associates.

Caruso Affiliated hired Todd Optican as vice president of its retail merchandising department. In his new position, Optican will work with Caruso’s leasing tem to help identify new, cutting-edge concepts and fresh business ventures. Prior to joining Caruso, Optican worked as managing director with the Beanstalk Group, a brand licensing agency and consultancy.

CB Richard Ellis appointed Patricia A. Nooney as senior managing director of institutional services for Florida. In her new position, Nooney will oversee brokerage, project management and asset services for the firm’s 37-million-square-foot management portfolio in Florida. She will also work with CBRE’s capital markets professionals to deliver debt and equity solutions for the firm’s institutional clients. Previously, Nooney served as market leader and director of brokerage and asset services for CBRE’s St. Louis operations.

Franklin Street Real Estate Services hired John Tennant as senior director of client services. In his new position, Tennant will oversee all leasing services for the Atlanta office and work with management to drive all service lines throughout the Southeast. Prior to joining Franklin Street, Tennant served as a development partner with Hendon Properties LLC.

Cohen Financial appointed Ted Wright as managing director in its loan administration department. In his new position, Wright will focus on asset management. He has 17 years of experience. Prior to joining Cohen Financial, Wright worked as head of the asset management group at Situs Asset Management.

Sandor hired Nicholas Roth as leasing director. In his new position, Roth will assume responsibility for Sandor’s national leasing team from its Indianapolis, Ind. and Scottsdale, Ariz. offices. Prior to joining Sandor, Roth managed leasing teams for the Florida portfolios of Edens & Avant and Equity One.

Tivoli Village at Queensridge appointed Christi Yarnell as general manager. Yarnell will oversee all operations, marketing efforts, management and community relations for the center. Prior to joining Tivoli Village, she served as associate general manager for Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas.

Linear Retail Properties LLC hired Diana Podaski as marketing and social media manager in its Burlington, Mass. office. In her new position, Podaski will be responsible for developing and executing the company’s marketing plan to support its leasing and acquisition efforts. Prior to joining Linear Retail, she worked at WS Development.