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New York City will welcome its first outlet mall when Empire Outlets opens on Staten Island. The 340,000-square-foot mall is currently around 80% leased and aims to win over shoppers with events and waterfront views. Read the Bloomberg story here

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A Tru by Hilton hotel has been proposed on the east side of Little Havana. Miami’s Urban Design Review Board is considering plans for the hotel at 1931 and 1917 S.W. Third Ave., which is three blocks west of Interstate 95 and the Brickell Financial District.
Read The Business Journals story here

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Hovde Properties plans a more than $40 million apartment and hotel development on Racine’s waterfront on land where city officials in 2017 had envisioned a conference center. Read The Business Journals story here

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Built in 1968 to celebrate New Orleans’ 250th anniversary, gutted and mostly abandoned post-Hurricane Katrina, ultimately claimed by the Four Seasons brand, the former World Trade Center (2 Canal Street) is now being renovated and converted into a grand residential hotel. Read the Curbed/New Orleans story here

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Taco Bell has unveiled a limited-time hotel in Palm Springs named “The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort,” which the brand describes as a “Tacoasis in the desert” that will provide a brand-themed experience for visitors starting in August. Read the Adweek story here

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A third all-suites brand aimed at business travelers will join the InterContinental Hotels Group portfolio. Atwell Suites will bring IHG’s total brands to 17. Read the Skift story here

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The developer of New York’s Hudson Yards is ready to build another massive office, housing and retail complex—this time about 3,000 miles to the west. Read the Bloomberg story here

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Forty-three states added construction jobs between April 2018 and April 2019, while construction employment increased in 32 states and the District of Columbia from March to April, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data released today. Association officials said the strong gains show demand for workers remains robust and they urged federal officials to enact immigration reforms to boost the supply of qualified workers.

Texas added the most construction jobs over the year (32,500 jobs, 4.4 percent), followed by Florida (22,600 jobs, 4.2 percent), Arizona (19,800 jobs, 12.7 percent) and California (19,000 jobs, 2.2 percent). West Virginia added the highest percentage of construction jobs over 12 months (33.7 percent, 12,200 jobs), followed by Nevada (14.6 percent, 13,000 jobs), Arizona, Alaska (12.3 percent, 1,900 jobs), Wyoming (11.8 percent, 2,300 jobs) and Minnesota (11.4 percent, 13,100 jobs). Construction employment reached a record high in four states: Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas.

Seven states and the District of Columbia shed construction jobs over the latest 12 months. The largest job loss took place in Louisiana (-8,400 jobs, -5.5 percent), followed by South Carolina (-3,600 jobs, -3.5 percent) and Mississippi (-1,800 jobs, -4.0 percent). Vermont had the steepest percentage decline in construction jobs over the 12-month span (-7.2 percent, -1,100 jobs), followed by Louisiana, Maine (-4.1 percent, -1,200 jobs), Mississippi and South Carolina.

Illinois added the most construction jobs between March and April (7,500 jobs, 3.3 percent), followed by Texas (5,800 jobs, 0.8 percent), Missouri (3,400 jobs, 2.8 percent) and Arizona (3,000 jobs, 1.8 percent). Iowa added the highest percentage of construction jobs for the month (2.4 percent, 2,600 jobs), followed by Illinois, Arkansas (2.8 percent, 1,400 jobs) and Missouri.

Construction employment decreased from March to April in 15 states and was unchanged in Alaska, South Dakota and Vermont. Wisconsin lost the most construction jobs for the month (-2,400 jobs, -1.9 percent), closely followed by Connecticut (-2,300 jobs, -3.7 percent) and West Virginia (-2,100 jobs, -4.2 percent). West Virginia, Connecticut and Wisconsin also had the steepest percentage losses of construction jobs between March and April.

Association officials said the record number of job openings in construction underscores the urgency of enacting immigration reforms that would enable contractors to bring qualified guest workers into the country, along with strict safeguards for American jobs and reduced incentives for individuals to enter the country illegally. They called on Congress and the president to include construction trades that are in short supply in urgently needed immigration reform legislation.

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Sprouts Farmers Market is entering new markets this year, with plans to open more than half of its future stores in new territory. The grocer has also introduced prototype stores centered around customer experience improvements in the meat, deli, seafood and bakery departments. Read the Supermarket Perimeter story here

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Fast-casual has been the fastest-growing restaurant segment in recent years, spurring a slew of competitors that can make it tough to stand out as the segment matures. Concepts can focus on food, experience and technology platforms to set themselves apart from the crowd. Read the QSR magazine story here

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