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QUEENS, NY-Alexander’s Inc., a REIT managed and one-third-owned by Vornado Realty Trust, has gotten government approval to build Rego Park II, a mixed-use project here with 600,000 sf of retail and 450 apartment units. A 122,000-sf Century 21 discount department store will anchor the project, for which Paramus, NJ-based Alexander’s executives do not yet have a construction or completion date.

The development, located at the intersection of the Long Island Expressway and Junction Boulevard in the Rego Park neighborhood, will have four levels of retail. Vornado has not yet announced any other tenants that will go into the center.

Wal-Mart was http originally slated to go into Rego Park II with its first New York City store, but Alexander’s proceeded without the retailer after community opposition to the project. “We do a lot of business with Wal-Mart and were talking to them, among others, about Rego Park,” says Steven Roth, the chairman/CEO of Vornado, which is also based in Paramus, in the company’s annual report. “We believe in Wal-Mart, but Wal-Mart has its critics, and when it became certain that the entire project could be rejected if Wal-Mart were a tenant, we had no choice but to continue without them.”

With or without Wal-Mart, Vornado won’t have trouble filling up the center with stores, says David Rosenberg, executive vice president at New York City-based Robert K. Futterman & Associates, which is working with Vornado to bring tenants to the development. “That’s one of the most densely-populated areas in New York City,” he tells GSR. “It’s got tremendous demographics.”

Nearby the Rego Park II site, Vornado owns Queens Boulevard at 63rd, a 343,248-sf center anchored by Bed Bath & Beyond, Circuit City, Marshall’s, Old Navy and Sears. Within a three-mile radius of that center, according to Vornado’s website, the average household income is nearly $84,000.

The tenant mix in Rego Park II could range from discounters to higher-end tenants, Rosenberg surmises. “I think what you’re going to see is some sort of hybrid of smaller store and big boxes,” he says. “There are a number of tenants that are not in the market that would like to be in the market, in all shapes and sizes.”

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