(Ian Ritter is national online editor for GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.)

CHICAGO-As mixed-use retail centers become more common, developers are realizing that housing is a key component in these types of projects, said speakers here at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ Fall Conference here Tuesday. “Housing does create great synergy with the retail department and will help center sales,” said Emerick Corsi, executive vice president of Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises.

Corsi was referring to his company’s Victoria Gardens center in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, which has 1.3 million sf of retail, including such anchors as AMC Theatre, J.C. Penney and Macy’s. The project is adding 500 residential units that executives hope will boost the center’s already strong sales per sf of $600.

General Growth Properties’ Summerlin Centre in Las Vegas will be a 1.2-million-sf retail-entertainment center in a 22,500-anchor, master-planned community with about 5,500 residences when it opens in 2008. When building the retail for a project like this, General Growth has taken into consideration that the demand for the store’s opening hours will likely differ from typical retail centers, said Thomas D’Alesandro, the locally based firm’s senior vice president of development.

“These places have their peak demand in the evening,” he said. “They almost need to be designed by how they look at night, even more than the day.”

Condos that are sold with some of these newer mixed-use projects aren’t cheap either. At Developers Diversified Realty’s Shops at Midtown Miami, they are going for between $200,000 and $800,000, while the asking price at Uptown Park Ridge (IL), being developed by Mid-America Real Estate Corp, is from $400,000 to $1 million.

Since such large retail real estate developers are planning these projects, smaller companies are bound to follow, said Brian Leary, vice president of design and development for the Atlantic Station mixed-use project in Downtown Atlanta. “Whenever they do something, it ripples through the entire industry,” he said.

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