Friday, December 09, 2005

Furniture giant adds some zip: Ikea offer has wheels

No wheels for a holiday haul at Ikea’s new Stoughton megastore?
For Zipcar Inc. car-sharing “members” and Ikea employees, the trip just got a little cheaper — provided they don’t mind driving “advertising vehicles.”

Under a new partnership, Zipcar wrapped six of its cars in the Swedish retailer’s trademark bright blue and yellow colors and logo.

The cars are available to Zipcar members for $6 an hour — $2.50 off the normal rate — which includes gas and insurance.
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Is downtown going to the dogs?

Competition for buyers has forced condos to allow dogs. Pet-care businesses are springing up, too.
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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Demand seen for Downtown Pittsburgh housing?

With more than 600 new apartments and condominiums scheduled to hit the market over the next two years downtown Pittsburgh, housing developers, foundations and government officials will be watching closely how quickly they will be absorbed.

Carnegie Mellon University graduate students who studied the market for Downtown residential development over the past semester are bullish that the new units will be filled up fast. They recently concluded that demand for housing in the Golden Triangle in the near term is likely to outstrip supply.

Based on an analysis of the results of a survey the group conducted of young professionals in the region, the group estimates there is demand for 1,000 more residents than currently can be housed in the Golden Triangle.
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Monday, December 05, 2005

French furniture firm opens first U.S. location in Miami

Miami's booming real estate market and cosmopolitan population made it the choice for a French furniture company's U.S. expansion.

Bois & Chiffons, a publicly traded company with more than 100 stores throughout Europe, recently opened its first U.S. location at the Biscayne Commons shopping center in North Miami Beach at 14791 Biscayne Blvd. Plans call for opening three stores in Florida within the next year and a total of 30 stores in the United States by 2011. The U.S. expansion is being overseen by Yannick Ayache and Anouk Sitbon, whose father Julien Ayache started the retailer in 1997.

At Bois & Chiffons, which means wood and rags, customers will find a lot more than the name implies. The furniture and home accessories run the gamut from sleek, contemporary leather couches to elegant wicker pieces, all arranged in vignettes complete with background music and a scent to complement the furniture.

Bois & Chiffons manufactures all of its own furniture and accessories at factories in Europe and Asia. Yet, the prices are about 30 percent lower than U.S. competitors such as Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel.


Loft developers: Prices heading up

The response to Ed and Leo Ticheli's Gallery Lofts on Second Avenue North points to an enthusiasm about downtown living that the brothers say is still in its infancy. With two other projects in the works, the Tichelis' Gallery Lofts are mostly sold, and prices are appreciating.

In addition to the 32-unit Gallery building, which will be ready for occupancy in spring 2006, the Tichelis last year purchased the 12-story Stonewall Insurance Co. building and the former Massey's Corral Inc. building (a Western wear store that moved to Trussville several years ago).
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Plans for the Massey are incomplete, but Leo Ticheli says he and his brother are investing about $18 million in the renovation of the Gallery and the Stonewall into lofts, with about $6 million going into the Gallery and $12 million earmarked for the Stonewall.

"(The Tichelis) are always looking for buildings," says Stephen Coker of Stephen Coker Architect LLC, who is overseeing renovations to their three current projects, "so I wouldn't be surprised if there is a fourth one here in a while."

Leo Ticheli, who owns a television production company in Birmingham, says he and his brother opted not to use a reservation system for the Gallery Lofts, instead going directly to contracts. He says four were purchased by early investors and are now back on the market, and four are being marketed by the Tichelis. The rest, including a third-floor unit purchased by Ticheli, have been spoken for.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Original Modern Furniture retailer coming soon to St. Louis

Hello reader, due to many e-mails sent to us, we have decided that we are going to "kick it up a notch" and release a newer higher end modern furniture store called We have joined forces with some of the best original modern designers around. Expected launch date is February 1, 2005. Please check often for