Wednesday, The Wrap presents a compilation of recent noteworthy commercial real
estate stories from a variety of publications. Below are five stories that
caught our eyes in recent days.

U.S. Retail Markets Shine Brighter Than Others In Slow-but-Steady Recovery”

by Randyl Drummer of CoStar.

Demand for retail space is gather some momentum as landlords
benefit from positive population, employment and housing trends; scarce new
construction; and increasing consumer confidence, Drummer reports.

The steady improvement in the sector’s fundamentals is
“boring but important,” according to Ryan McCullough, a co-presenter of
CoStar’s Midyear 2013 Retail Review and Outlook. The national retail vacancy
rate dipped below 7 percent in the second quarter.

“We are seeing the amount of retail square footage per
capita decrease for the first time in many decades,” McCullough told CoStar.
“This opens the door to better [store] productivity, and ultimately rent gains.
The light but positive demand we're seeing is producing a
healthier retail market.”

Property Values Dip in July, According to Index”
by Carisa Chappell of

Commercial property values fell 1 percent in July, according
to data from Green Street Advisors’ Commercial Property Price Index.

Values increased by 3 percent in May, putting them above
their 2007 high, but remained unchanged in June, according to Green Street.

“Property prices took a breather in July while waiting to
see where interest rates would settle,” Jason Moore, an analyst with Green
Street, told REIT.com. “But the increase in rates we’ve seen over the last
couple of months simply brought expected returns on real estate back in line
with historical norms versus bonds.”

Owners Woo Hispanic Shoppers”
by Miriam Jordan of The Wall Street Journal.

Some commercial property investors are upgrading struggling
malls to appeal to Hispanic shoppers, Jordan reports.

“Hispanics accounted for more than half the population
growth between 2000 and 2011; Hispanic households that earn $50,000 or more are
rising at a faster clip than total U.S. households,” Jordan writes.

Macerich, which owns about 70 retail properties, has
incorporated themed events, free musical events and Hispanic-owned retail shops
into some of its ailing properties, Jordan reports.

“It’s right to go after a group whose populations and
purchasing power are growing,” Ryan Severino, an economist with market-research
firm Reis Inc., told The Wall Street Journal.

Dome Area to Get Overhaul”
by Dave Williams of the Atlanta Business

The Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission has
issued a request for qualifications to renovate the Georgia Capitol Square
complex in Atlanta, Williams reports.

The RFQ calls for demolishing a parking deck to create an
open public plaza along Capitol Avenue and later closing traffic on Mitchell
Street to make the area more “pedestrian friendly,” Williams reports.

A 2011 assessment suggested replacing the parking deck — which
is 59 years old — because of the amount of work needed to repair it. The
redevelopment could also address concerns over the dangers of crossing the
street that separates the Capitol from the Coverdell Legislative Office
Building, Williams notes. 

Avalon Project Secures Financing”
by J. Scott Trubey of the Atlanta

Avalon, the mixed-use project under development in
Alpharetta, Ga., has obtained $126.5 million in construction loans for its
first phase, according to developer North American Properties (NAP).

NAP also announced a number of new tenants including Antico
Napoletana, a popular Atlanta pizza restaurant; Bantam + Biddy, a concept by
Chef Shaun Doty; and retailers Tommy Bahama and West Elm, Trubey reports.

The first phase of the project is slated to open in October
2014, Trubey reports.