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» Featured Columnists | By Scott Kauffman | October 1, 2010 9:11 AM ET

Trump Ocean Club Celebrates Topping Off

(PANAMA CITY, PANAMA) -- Earlier this summer, Latin America's most anticipated development, Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower  Panama, Latin American's tallest building, met a major construction milestone by officially topping off and commemorating the placement of the last steel beam.  With this phase of construction complete, developers will now shift their focus to adding the finishing touches to the property including the placement of the architectural ornament known as the pinnacle as well as the opulent interiors, bringing together the nearly-completed masterpiece. 

For the momentous occasion this fall, developer Roger Khafif of Newland International Properties Corp. (Newland), together with 2,500 construction workers, are planning to gather on the tower's rooftop level as a helicopter glides over its 70 stories to capture the triumphant feat, the completion of Latin America's tallest building measuring over 250 meters high.

"The topping off of Trump Ocean Club is a very important event for us," says Khafif, the project's developer and president of Newland International Properties Corp. "It signifies the realization of our vision as developers. I feel fortunate to have contributed to what will undoubtedly be a world-class landmark that is truly incomparable to any development I've ever seen, especially in Latin America."

Opening in early 2011, Trump Ocean Club will set a new benchmark for luxury in not only Panama, but throughout Latin America. Located in Punta Pacifica, Panama's most desired neighborhood, Trump Ocean Club showcases an impressive sail-shaped design overlooking the bay that encompasses a total gross area of 2.7 million square feet. The grand development is a combined collaboration by Newland and architects Arias Serna Saravia based in Colombia.

Trump Ocean Club features 1,004 units composed of Residences and Bay Lofts, and 369 hotel units. The hotel condominiums, which feature a modern tropical flare, were designed by the leader in hospitality interior design worldwide, Hirsh Bedner Associates, while the residential portion was conceived by internationally renowned Miami-based furniture and interior designer, Adriana Hoyos. This five-star development will feature numerous luxury amenities and features including an oversized infinity pool, amenities deck, upscale boutiques, exclusive office lofts, an elite hotel sky lobby, a state-of-the-art business center, concierge service, valet parking, and more.

The topping off is the latest in a string of accomplishments met as the development pushes for more advancement in the next few months. Now that the Trump Ocean Club residences and hotel condominiums are approximately 90 percent sold and the building exterior is complete, the interiors will take precedence and the anticipation begins for the grand opening.

"Nothing like this has ever been attempted in Latin America," Khafif says. "When you think of Sydney, you think of the Opera House. When you think of Paris, you think of the Eiffel Tower, and when you think of Panama, you will think of Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower Panama."

Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower  Panama (Trump Ocean Club) is being developed by Newland International Properties Corp. (Newland). In 2006, Newland began developing Trump Ocean Club in Panama's exclusive Punta Pacifica peninsula, creating what it anticipates will be the most spectacular development in Panama's history.  In striving to create this unrivaled luxury destination, Newland licensed the Trump name from Trump Marks Panama LLC and retained Trump Hotel Collection, the award-winning hotel management company, to set a new benchmark for luxury hospitality not only in Panama, but throughout Latin America.

Edwin Watts Golf Shops Opens Sears Stores

(FORT WALTON BEACH, FL) -- Edwin Watts Golf Shops, LLC, one of the world's largest specialty golf retailers, announced Sept. 28 that the golf industry's first-ever "store-within-a-store" retail program with Sears Holdings is now complete, as 12 Edwin Watts Golf Shops have now opened inside of Sears stores in key markets across the country.

The opening of the Edwin Watts Golf Shop located inside the Sears at Pembroke Lakes Mall on September 11, completes the list of 12 service-oriented Edwin Watts Golf Shops that have opened inside  existing Sears stores nationwide in 2010.  In addition to the Florida store, the other store locations include Columbia and Silver Spring, Md.; Friendswood and Humble, Texas; Garden City, Yonkers and Hicksville, N.Y.; Livingston, N.J.; Vernon Hills, Ill.; Murray, Utah; and Falls Church, Va.

"This collaboration with Sears offers additional retail locations for our core customers, serves to introduce golf to a new audience of consumers, and provides Sears shoppers with the finest golf equipment and accessories available in the industry today," said John Watson, chief executive officer, Edwin Watts Golf Shops.  "It's exciting to have 12 new Edwin Watts Golf Shops fully operational inside of Sears stores as we continue to expand our national footprint."

All 12 locations feature select product assortments in golf equipment & apparel, electronics, and related golf accessories, highlighted by such noted brands as PING, Mizuno, Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist, FootJoy, adidas Golf, Cleveland, Cobra, Adams, Wilson, Champions Tour and others.  The shop will present consumers with a service-based, interactive golf experience showcasing product testing, via an in-store putting green and hitting bay, game improvement clinics, expert golf club and golf ball performance fitting, the latest equipment technology, apparel styles, other innovations and much more. 

Each of the 12 Edwin Watts Golf Shops housed inside a Sears location is designed as a specialty store format with footprints ranging from 2,700-3,000 sq. ft., while offering the familiar layout and shopping experience of the company's free-standing golf shops.  All Edwin Watts Golf Shops are strategically positioned near other major Sears departments (electronics, tools, appliances, sporting goods), and are being staffed by Edwin Watts Golf associates who have deep experience and training in golf equipment and technologies, the golf industry, professional fitting and customer service - key differentiators for the Edwin Watts Golf brand and the "store-within-a-store" concept.

Watson adds, "At a time when the golf retail industry is consolidating, Edwin Watts Golf is committed to enhancing

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