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CLEVELAND-Victoria Gardens, Forest City Enterprises’ regional, open-air center that opened last year in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, has already surpassed sales per-sf of $500, according to company executives during an earnings call Friday. That puts it well above the average US mall, which does $366 per-sf, according the International Council of Shopping Centers.

The 1.2 million-sf Victoria Gardens, which is anchored by an AMC Theatre, a cultural arts center, J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Robinson’s-May, opened in October. The 1.2 million-sf, Short Pump Town Center, an open-air project that opened in Richmond, VA two years ago this month, is also performing well, with sales per-sf of $420, Forest City executives report.

“These two projects reflect the current demand for open-air lifestyle centers,” said Charles Ratner, Forest City’s president and CEO. Similar projects the company has in the pipeline, are the 600,000-sf Simi Valley (CA) Town Center, and the 1.1 million-sf Bolingbrook (IL) Promenade, outside of Chicago.

Forest City’s year-over-year sales per sf rose 6%, to $397, during the first half of the year in its entire retail portfolio, which consists of 41 open-air centers and malls. Ratner called retail the best-performing property type the company owns, beating its apartment and office developments.

The company will lose three department store anchors from Federated Department Stores’ closings of 73 units after its recent merger with May Department Stores. Forest City will lose anchors at Simi Valley when it opens; Promenade at Temecula (CA) and Victoria Gardens. But executives were confident that those spaces could be filled expeditiously. “The shopping centers are in tremendous growth markets, and the two that are open are performing very well,” said David LaRue, president and COO of Forest City’s Commercial Group.

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