In what is thought to be a first for a U.S. developer, ODAKYU ELECTRIC RAILWAY CO., LTD. has contracted with AMERICAN MALLS INTERNATIONAL INC. to redevelop one of its three department stores into a high-end outlet mall featuring international brands. The project involves close to 108,000 square feet of retail space. AMI will lead, design, conceptualize and operate the store, which is scheduled to reopen in September. An affiliate of Washington, D.C.-based WESTERN DEVELOPMENT CORP., it formed a Tokyo subsidiary in the spring of 1996 to handle the negotiations necessary to set up superregional malls around Japan.
The first Marriott-flagged hotel is in business in Japan. MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC. acquired what was the then-new Ramada Hotel Tokyo Kinschicho-Tobu in 1997 when it bought RENAISSANCE HOTEL GROUP. The property, which has 383 rooms, three restaurants, two lounges and a variety of other amenities, has been renamed the Tokyo Marriott Hotel Kinschicho-Tobu. Marriott operates five other hotels locally: the 192- room Renaissance Gifu Hotel, the 206-room Renaissance Tokyo Hotel Ginza Tobu, the 323-room Renaissance Sapporo Hotel, the 209-room Renaissance Naruto Resort and the 392-room Renaissance Okinawa Resort.
Just a year after CINEMARK INTERNATIONAL INC., one of the big U.S. operators of multiplex movie theaters, formed a company with movie producer and distributor SHOCHIKU CO., LTD. to help it get its multiplex theater business off the ground, the Japanese partner has called it quits. It cited differences in approach with the Sherman, Texas-headquartered company. Shochiku will buy out Cinemark's 26.6 percent interest in the joint venture.
An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.