BOSTON—Construction will begin on the expansion atCopley Place here within nine months, reportedSimon Property Group chairman and CEODavid Simon at the company's second quarterconference call.

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Plans call for the addition of 680,000 square feet of housing inwhat will be the tallest residential building in Boston, anexpansion of Neiman Marcus and additional retail,according to theBoston Redevelopment Authority's website.

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“It's not going to overwhelm us, but it's part of our strategyto continue to make our shopping centers the place to be, both fromshopping, entertainment, leisure, eating, and then eventuallyliving and spending time on, with respect to the hotel business,”Simon said.

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Last week, Macerich Co. opened the first phaseof its expansion of Tysons Corner Center, whichultimately will add 1.4 million square feet of office, residential,hotel and more retail to the complex.

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"As we launch the exciting mixed-use urban community at TysonsCorner, it is clear this development is one of the premier projectsof its kind in the country," said Art Coppola,Macerich chairman and CEO, in the announcement. "This projectleverages one of the nation's top-performing retail properties intoa sustainable urban community now linked by mass transit with theentire Washington, DC metro area. Already we see a strong positiveimpact for our retailers, as well as long-term benefits of thissmart densification for the entire region."

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And Edison Mall in Voorhees, NJ is becomingVoorhees Town Center, with retail space, officesand upscale housing, and developer PREIT islooking at similar conversions.

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All three developments are either in a major city or a submarket(Boston, Washington and Philadelphia), and it will be particularlyinteresting to see how Tysons will do now that the SilverLine of the area Metro system has finally opened, makingcommuting much easier for Tysons residents. But all three areimportant tests for a growing population in an increasingly urbancountry.

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