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Simon plans luxury development at Houston's Galleria Mall; Wynn proposes $1.6B Las Vegas project

Commercial real estate

* SimonProperty Group Inc. said it is bringing a luxury hotel and condominium towerto the Galleria Mall inHouston.

The Houston BusinessJournal reportedthat plans call for 220 high-end hotel rooms and 75 to 100 luxury condominiumsat the mixed-use project, according to David Contis, president of Simon Malls.The tower will mark the final step in Simon's $250 million redevelopment of theGalleria Mall, according to the report.

* VornadoRealty Trust and Aurora Capital Associates bought 40,000 squarefeet of air rights in order to expand the boutique office-and-retail space at61 Ninth Ave. inManhattan, N.Y.'s Meatpacking district to 170,000 square feet, The Real Deal reported.The property will house, among other tenants, Starbucks' new 20,000-square-footRoastery store.

* A partnership of Boston Properties Inc., Chinese billionaire Zhang Xinand the Safra banking family is in "late-stage" talks with Nike tolease the former FAO Schwarz space at the General Motors Building at 767 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan, The Real Deal reported,citing sources.

However, it is not confirmed if Nike is looking to lease theentire 61,000 square feet of space vacated by the toy store or just a portionof it.

* Acadia RealtyTrust is on the brink of finalizing a 49-year master lease forretail space at Carlyle House at 55 E. 77th St. in Manhattan, the (N.Y.) Commercial Observer reported.

* The seventh floor of 740 Park Ave. in Manhattan caught fire Wednesday, the New York Post reported.The apartment building is one of the "swankiest" buildings in the BigApple. The property has been said to house the highest concentration ofbillionaires in the U.S., according to the publication.

* Landlords in Manhattan are offering perks to attract morerenters amid softening demand due to high asking rents, The Wall Street Journal reported,citing brokers. Concessions include owner-paid brokerage fees or one or moremonths of free rent. According to brokerage Citi Habitats, someform of incentive was included in 21% of its rental transactions in the firstquarter.

* According to data compiled by StreetEasy, more than 35% ofthe 261 penthouse units for sale in Manhattan saw steep price cuts since beinglisted amid a slowdown in the borough's ultra-luxury residential market, The Real Deal reported.The average discount came to nearly 10% and the median penthouse price was $6.7million.

* In Brooklyn, N.Y., the median price of a home rose 8.4%year over year to $662,431 in the first quarter, Crain's New York Business reported,citing a market report. The increase marks the 14th straight quarter ofyear-over-year growth.

* Macy's Inc. is planning a $100 million revamp of its storeat 422 Fulton St. indowntown Brooklyn, the Journal reported.The renovation, which will be carried out over a three-year period, will resultin the store's size reducing to about 278,000 square feet from 378,000 squarefeet, according to the publication.

After the bell

* InvenTrustProperties Corp. said it expects to close the sale of University HouseCommunities Group Inc. by the end of the second quarter.

The company, as disclosed earlier, is selling the studenthousing platform for roughly $1.4 billion. The portfolio includes 18 stabilizedstudent-housing communities and four in development with a total of about13,000 beds.

* NationalHealth Investors Inc. purchased eight Texas skilled nursingfacilities for $118.5 million and signed a new 15-year master lease on theproperties, and others, with affiliates of The Ensign Group, the company .

* CommunityHealthcare Trust Inc. said it priced an underwritten public offering of 4.5million shares of its common stock at $17.75 apiece, with net proceeds expectedat roughly $75 million.

* AmericanTower Corp. Chairman, President and CEO James Taiclet Jr.said the companyintends to make an investment of $2 billion in India, the Press Trust of Indiareported, citing Indian Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.


* Wynn ResortsLtd. said it intends to develop a new entertainmentdestination in Las Vegas, which will include a 38-acre lagoon, a 1,000-roomhotel tower and a casino, among other things. The company will transform the 130-acresite housing the Wynn Golf Club into the tentatively dubbed Wynn Paradise Park.

VegasInc. reportedthat the development may cost as much as $1.6 billion, and it requires approvalfrom the company's board of directors.

* In Massachusetts, the government may call Wynn ResortsChairman and CEO Steve Wynn as a witness in the federal trial of three peopleaccused of trying to hide the ownership of Charles Lightbody, a convicted felon and Mafiaassociate, in a site in Everett, TheBoston Globe reported.The parcel was later acquired by Wynn Resorts for $35 million for its plannedcasino project.

* Demolition has commenced on the former YWCA building onHoward Street in Springfield, Mass., to pave the way for the development ofMGM ResortsInternational's $950 million MGM Springfield casino, reported.

* In Nevada, the Gaming Control Board has given the initialapproval to Marnell Gaming LLC to acquire the Nugget casino in Sparks, VegasInc. reported.The company is still awaiting final approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission,following which, the deal will likely close in May, according to the report.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower openingfor the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.29% to 20,266.05 and theNikkei 225 rose 0.22% to 15,749.84.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.09% to6,156.10 and the Euronext 100 had fallen 0.13% to 844.11.

On the macro front

The jobless claims report, the EIA natural gas report, theconsumer credit report, the Treasury STRIPS report, the Fed balance sheet andthe money supply report are due out today.

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The Daily Dose isupdated as of 7:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription.Articles and links are correct as of publication time.