The Models of RECon: Las Vegas

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Ever since the International Council of Shopping Centers launched its twice annual convention–first in Las Vegas, then Manhattan–the event’s growing contingent of brokers, retailers, developers and investors have increasingly flexed its collective creative muscle in order to build larger-than-life booths and floor models. This year, the organization’s 55th in existence, was certainly no different, with brokerages and developers showing off a litany of proposed development projects and plans. After the jump, join us for a tour of today’s most ambitious projects, from here to Washington D.C. and all the way to Istanbul. Enjoy.

Edens, a Washington, D.C. based real estate investment trust, is planning to build a series of buildings in the capitol on a roughly 40 acre neighborhood bordered by Florida Avenue and New York Avenue just outside the city’s downtown. The site currently is largely populated by rundown low-rise former
industrial buildings according to Jeff Kaufman, a vice president at the company. Edens owns five parcels on the site and is planning to build mixed use buildings that will have significant retail in the base. “We want to model the neighborhood after Manhattan’s Meatpacking District,” Mr. Kaufman said. The company just finished refurbishing an artisanal food store called Union Market at the site. It is planning a building across the street that it will eventually relocate the market into when that project is finished. “We don’t want to just knock the market down,” Mr. Kaufman said. “We’re going to build the new
building, then relocate it, it’s going to be seamless.” Mr. Kaufman said the model had just been finished before ISCS. “We like the model but I feel like the buildings are a little vanilla,” he said. “We’re going to actually be designing really cool structures on those sites.”

The real estate development firm Samuels & Associates is in the process of building and planning a cluster of commercial and residential buildings right next to Fenway Park in Boston. According to Ann Marie Doris, a building manager at the company, the towers in the middle, an office property and a residential building, have already been built and the company is marketing the space in the base at ICSC to retail tenants. The model conveyed the proximity of the project to Fenway Park. “It’s a great neighborhood to be in,” Ms.
Doris said.

Shea Properties is building this retail complex and already has a series of big box tenants for the project including REI, Whole Foods and Target. The 600,000-square-foot complex is set to open by the end of 2012. Whole Foods and REI will open in 2013.

The DiMarco Group has started construction on this large mixed used residential community earlier this year. The model showed the grade striking topographical grade change of the development. “There’s actually a 120 foot drop from one end of the community to the other,” William Durdel, an executive at the DiMarco Group, said. “We’re using that, creating a series of waterfalls that runs down the center of the town.”

“It’s definitely something that grabs attention,” Valerie Cataffa, an executive at the architecture firm DDG, said at the company’s booth, referring to the model of the Istanbul arena project. The company designed the arena and the surrounding mixed used complex. The stadium, which hosts pro basketball games and other sports events, opened earlier this year but the rest of the project is still in development. “Some architecture firms are known for a distinct
aesthetic but we’re very customer service oriented,” Mr. Cataffa said. “We build projects to our clients’ specifications and vision and this is an example of that.” The building on the right is a planned office tower she said while the tower on the left will be a hotel.