Despite cautious language—“prudent planning,” “strategic thinking,” “proceeding with care”—during interviews with all five of the top developers featured here, 2007 was a robust development year. More than 21 million sq. ft. of new and expanded space was built in 2007, which edged 2006 numbers by 2 million sq. ft., and 2005 by more than 6 million sq. ft.
Some interesting shifts took place in the top five. Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group took the top spot, after two years as first runner-up. Developers Diversified Realty, the No. 1 developer three years running, was fifth in 2007. (Interestingly, 2.8 million sq. ft. garnered the Beachwood, Ohio-based developer first place in the 2004 rankings, but 2.8 million in 2007 put the company in fifth.) And Vestar Development Co., Phoenix, hadn’t appeared in the Chain Store Age rankings since the 2004 list; in 2007, the company was a solid No. 4, with 4.25 million sq. ft. developed.