New Life

A baker's dozen of 2012 top developers prove construction isn't dead

For the fourth consecutive year, there still is not enough ground-up shopping center construction to justify the "Fastest-Growing Developers" ranking that was Chain Store Age standard fare for two decades.

But we may be edging closer to resurrecting a ranking based on who is building new (or, more accurately, newly repurposed) space. Closer, but still not there.

Nevertheless, of all the entries that poured in from shopping center developers across the country, a baker's dozen are featured on these pages. Thirteen developers of varying sizes and format strengths found a way last year to add new centers and expanded/redeveloped square footage, and that in and of itself is something to recognize.

Because selections were weighted more toward community impact and obstacles overcome than sheer financial investment and number of projects opened, we have arranged the companies alphabetically and highlight one or more 2012 projects from each. All new developments and expansion projects were completed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012.

CBL & Associates Properties

Chattanooga, Tenn.

CBL rarely misses this list. The perennial Top Developer added 651,119 sq. ft. last year, most notably Phase II of its Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City, a 75/25 joint-venture between CBL and Horizon Group Properties.

Grand-opened in November 2012, the second phase of the highly publicized outlet project added 28,000 sq. ft. — with Columbia Sports, Coach Men, Lucky Brand, Kenneth Cole, LOFT and more.

The second phase went under construction less than a year after the grand opening of the first phase, demonstrating the strength and momentum of this tremendous project.

Crossman & Co.

Orlando, Fla.

New to the group this year, Top Developer Crossman & Co. practically overhauled a community with its most newsworthy development of 2012. A foreclosed center in Celebration, Fla. — in the Orlando MSA — has been redeveloped into Water Tower Shoppes, anchored by a new 49,000-sq.-ft. Publix.

The Water Tower development supplanted an old Goodings-anchored grocery center foreclosed in 2005. Besides adding a much-needed Publix in November 2012 and eliminating a community eyesore, the redevelopment expanded parking and is bringing in national tenants to a previously 50% vacant property.

EDENS

Columbia, S.C.

Of its 1 million-plus sq. ft. added in 2012, EDENS showcases a center that clearly demonstrates the company's mission to enrich communities: Mosaic District, in Washington, D.C.

The Mosaic District warrants a lot more ink than it will get here. Phase I (424,000 sq. ft.) opened in September 2012, introducing local players and national retailers, along with entertainment like Angelika Film Center and Café, to a discerning D.C. customer base. Mosaic District piloted the country's LEED-Neighborhood Development program and received a silver certification. A network of streets and animated open spaces weaves the community together, creating a sophisticated, contemporary urban environment.

Excel Trust

San Diego

Last year, Excel Trust opened Red Rock Commons, an outdoor shopping center in St. George, in southern Utah, anchored by Dick's Sporting Goods, PetSmart, Ulta, Old Navy and Gap Outlet. The 135,000-sq.-ft. project created a shopping link to the adjacent Target- and Ross-anchored center, cementing the area as the dominant retail corridor.

It also brought new retailers into the market. St. George is four hours south of Salt Lake City. Patrons are traveling as long as 30 minutes to visit the center.

Kimco Realty Corp.

New Hyde Park, N.Y.

Another regular on our Top Developers list, Kimco opened 1.8 million sq. ft. in 2012, including redeveloped square footage at the West Farm Shopping Center, in Farmington, Conn.

The 184,000-sq.-ft. center received a significant exterior upgrade to the overall façade, which, as a result, attracted new retailers and stabilized the existing national tenants, such as Sports Authority, T.J. Maxx and Petco. The upgrade also aided in attracting LA Fitness to backfill the recently vacated Borders space and Nordstrom Rack to occupy the vacant Linens n Things box.

NRDC

Purchase, N.Y.

National Realty & Development Corp. makes it a practice to upgrade the communities it is in. In February 2012, it opened Pohatcong Plaza II, in Phillipsburg, N.J.

Located near Interstate 78, the project received tremendous support and approval of the community. The new 230,910-sq.-ft. center complements and enhances the existing Pohatcong Plaza shopping center with a new road, infrastructure improvements and a new traffic signal on Route 22. A new Walmart Supercenter was joined by a White Castle and a Wawa gas station with convenience store.

PREIT

Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust is a Chain Store Age Top Developer every year, and for good reason. PREIT opened 529,536 sq. ft. in 2012, comprised of expansion and redeveloped square footage at three major projects: Willow Grove (Pa.) Park Mall; Plymouth Meeting (Pa.) Mall; and Cherry Hill (N.J.) Mall.

The renovation of Willow Grove Park Mall was a remerchandising of former department store space, bringing 173,343 sq. ft. of retail space back online. Nordstrom Rack opened in 40,322 sq. ft. in May 2012, followed by J.C. Penney's opening of its 124,660-sq.-ft. store in October, and Apple — in 8,351 sq. ft. — opened in November.

Regency Centers

Jacksonville, Fla.

Another list regular, Regency opened nearly a half-million sq. ft. last year, including its Southpark at Cinco Ranch ground-up project, which opened in December 2012 in Houston.

The 228,688-sq.-ft. Kroger- and Academy Sports-anchored center is one of the first anchored retail developments within the master-planned community of Cinco Ranch. Kroger is 101,497 sq. ft. and brought 275 new jobs to the area. Ninety-two percent occupied, the center benefits from limited retail competition and an affluent population growing three times faster than the surrounding market. Southpark at Cinco Ranch will add an additional 57,000 sq. ft. in its second phase.

The Sembler Co.

St. Petersburg, Fla.

Sometimes a project is significant because of its ties to both its community and its owner. Sembler has owned the Park 66 neighborhood center for more than 40 years, and has worked to keep it relevant despite changing times and area conditions.

Located in Pinellas Park, Fla., at the bustling intersection of Park Boulevard and 66th St. North, Park 66 underwent a redevelopment in 2012 that brought in a highly desirable Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market to an area previously underserved by retail.

Other current tenants include Dollar Tree, Anytime Fitness, a liquor store and a hair/nail salon.

Simon Property Group

Indianapolis

Simon opened 1,043,000 sq. ft. in 2012, comprised of both new development and expansions. It opened Merrimack (N.H.) Premium Outlets in June with 409,000 sq. ft. of popular outlet names, then followed in October with the opening of the 353,000-sq.-ft. Tanger 50/50 joint-ventured Tanger Outlets-Galveston Houston center in Texas City, Texas.

Simon debuted its expansion to Philadelphia's King of Prussia Mall in November, further strengthening the asset by redeveloping the former Strawbridge/Macy's building into a two-story, 100,000-sq.-ft. addition housing upscale retailers.

Taubman

Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Taubman points to the construction of City Creek Center, in Salt Lake City, as its hallmark project for 2012.

Heralded as the only regional shopping center to open in the United States in 2012, City Creek Center opened in March 2012 in the heart of downtown as the centerpiece of City Creek Reserve mixed-use redevelopment project.

City Creek features a retractable roof, rushing creek, pedestrian skybridge — and then there's the retail. Nordstrom and Macy's anchor, joined by 100-plus premium stores and restaurants. City Creek is owned and managed by Taubman and co-developed by City Creek Reserve.

Westfield

Los Angeles

Westfield is another major mall player that regularly dominates this list; it repeats this year by recording more than 3.2 million sq. ft. of newly developed, recovered and redeveloped space in 2012.

It opened its $1.2 billion, 1.8 million-sq.-ft. Westfield Sydney (Australia) project in 2012, but also showcases the transformation of Westfield UTC (San Diego) as a signature project for last year.

In November, Westfield opened the $180 million, resort-inspired transformation of its regional showpiece, adding new luxury boutiques and first-to-market shops, along with a new dining terrace, restaurants, ArcLight Cinemas and an expanded 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport club. New retail banners include Tiffany, J. Crew, Rolex, The Art of Shaving, Kiehl's and Tesla Motors.

The Woodmont Co.

Fort Worth, Texas

Making its debut appearance, Woodmont completed three significant projects last year, but none had more impact than the continuing evolution of Chimney Rock power center in Odessa, Texas.

Phase I saw the addition of 54,361 sq. ft. of retail, opening in stages from July to October 2012. The project is ongoing, as some outparcels and standalone shop space buildings are left to finish as phase II develops this year. Chimney Rock is anchored by Academy Sports and Best Buy, and also tenanted by Marshalls, Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts, Kirkland's and Ulta.

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