Redeveloping Retail: America’s Top Redevelopers

Ninth annual survey supports adding value through redevelopment

Forest City revitalized its Charleston (W.Va.) Town Center property in downtown Charleston with a $7 million interior renovation; Phase II will focus on the mall’s exterior.

In its ninth year, the annual Top Redevelopers survey continues to demonstrate the value of redeveloping and repositioning shopping centers. As always, the goals include refreshing, remodeling, tweaking, and sometimes demolishing and rebuilding with an eye to providing tenants with space that supports their goals. 

Just like the 2011-2012 survey, this year’s survey analyzed redevelopment work from mid-year to mid-year — in this case, from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013 — to ensure the most current results possible. Survey participants submitted total square footage redeveloped during that period, the number of projects undertaken and, when available, the financial investment for each project. As always, the Chain Store Age judging committee attempted to make the selection process as objective as possible — no easy task. Not enough information is available to develop a foolproof ranking system. Only a few developers report redevelopment financial investments and many account for redeveloped square footage in proprietary ways.

This year, we chose 12 developers based on the number of properties redeveloped, total square feet affected and significant projects. We have summarized the results for each of the 12 developers below in alphabetical order because it is literally impossible to rank one above the other.

Brixmor Property Group

New York City

From July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, Brixmor Property Group spent $98 million redeveloping 29 properties in 14 states spanning 7,767,529 sq. ft. The company calls the $13 million redevelopment of College Plaza in Selden, N.Y., its most significant. The 175,400-sq.-ft. shopping center was in a strong location, but was hampered by a vacant anchor and an oversized Bob’s Stores aiming to downsize. The redevelopment relocated Bob’s Stores to a 31,000-sq.-ft. space and remerchandised the former space with a 68,000-sq.-ft. ShopRite.

Cafaro Co.

Youngstown, Ohio

Cafaro redeveloped 344,306 sq. ft. at five shopping centers in four states over the survey period. The largest was the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville, Ohio. Defending against competitive challenges from new developments, Cafaro installed new flooring, ceilings, skylights, HVAC, lighting, security, food court, signage and entrances. Outside, Cafaro added fresh lighting and landscaping. The redevelopment encouraged Macy’s to redo its store and brought Ohio’s first Boscov’s to the mall. Sales are up, and some tenants report same-store sales increases approaching 100%.

CBL & Associates Properties

Chattanooga, Tenn.

CBL redeveloped 5,403,625 sq. ft. of space this year in eight centers. The company acquired Northgate Mall and The Shops at Northgate in late 2011 with plans to revitalize the complex. The mall renovation improved the main entrance and repaved portions of the parking lot. Interior work installed soft seating, new flooring and ceilings. An Old Navy store is under construction next to the southwest mall entrance. Across the parking field from the mall, The Shops also received a makeover.


Columbia, S.C.

EDENS completed five redevelopment projects this year, spending nearly $53 million. Redevelopment projects included the 50-year old Sunshine Square in the heart of east Boynton Beach, Fla. The $11.7 million project expanded the Publix grocery store anchor and updated the hardscapes and landscaping. Sustainable building practices included the use of low-VOC material, adhesives and finishes. The work also added new high-efficiency irrigation systems and Energy Star-rated HVAC units.

Forest City Enterprises


Forest City carried out one redevelopment this year, but it was a big one — the 933,979-sq.-ft. Charleston Town Center, in Charleston, W.Va. The $7 million renovation replaced the flooring on all three levels with ceramic tile and carpeting and added a new fountain in the center court. Additional improvements included a technology bar with Wi-Fi, new signage and lighting, and a more inviting color palette. A remerchandising strategy brought in Sephora, Francesca’s, White House | Black Market and Coach.

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust


PREIT redeveloped 379,394 sq. ft. in 11 shopping centers over the survey period. The most significant project took place at the Capital City Mall with the 5,000-sq.-ft. expansion to accommodate the first DSW Shoe Warehouse in Camp Hill, in the Harrisburg, Pa., area. The 17,500-sq.-ft. store occupies a once hard-to-fill corridor and has helped cement Capital City Mall as the area’s top shopping and dining destination.

Phillips Edison & Co.


Phillips Edison & Co. carried out 32 redevelopment projects encompassing 964,809 sq. ft. over the survey period. One of the most significant projects was Sendik’s Towne Centre, a 189,116-sq.-ft. mixed-use development in Brookfield, Wis., acquired in fall 2012. Phillips Edison spent $1.5 million to reconfigure the parking lot and correct confusing traffic patterns, add 78 parking stalls and create a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere. Additional improvements include enhanced landscaping and directional signage.

Regency Centers

Jacksonville, Fla.

Regency Centers reworked 1,704,943 sq. ft. in 11 centers, spending more than $48 million during the survey period. A key redevelopment was Powers Ferry Square, an aging center located in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. Originally built in 1951, the center had deteriorated in appearance, creating the possibility that tenants would leave. The renovation rewarded existing tenants with a new facade, arched redbrick colonnades, awnings and new tenant signage. Those features attracted new tenants including Petco, Panera Bread and Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint.

Rouse Properties

New York City

From July 2012 through June of this year, Rouse redid three properties totaling 1,863,674 sq. ft. The company calls the multimillion-dollar renovation of Pierre Bossier Mall in Bossier City, La., the most significant. The work entailed a major interior facelift, enhanced entrances and signage. Specifics include new porcelain tile flooring, soft seating, Wi-Fi in all the common areas and a children’s play area. Since the completion of the renovation in 2013, Pierre Bossier has experienced a 9% increase in occupancy. 

Simon Property Group


Simon Property Group redeveloped 31,515,300 sq. ft. at 32 properties. The largest projects were at King of Prussia Mall — 2,470,000 sq. ft. — in King of Prussia, Pa., and Sawgrass Mills — 2,295,000 sq. ft. — in Sunrise, Fla. King of Prussia underwent a multi-level expansion connecting the five-anchor Plaza and the two-anchor Court. Sawgrass Mills received a 40,000-sq.-ft. expansion of The Colonnade Outlets section. Prada, Armani, Diane Von Furstenberg and Robert Graham have moved into the new wing.


Los Angeles

Westfield carried out 11 redevelopment projects spanning 2,258,000 sq. ft. over the 12-month survey period. Notable among those 11 projects was the renovation of Westfield UTC in San Diego, a $180 million resort-inspired transformation that added new luxury boutiques, a number of San Diego debuts, a new dining terrace and new entertainment choices, such as ArcLight Cinemas, a 14-screen, 1,800-seat luxury theater. The new UTC features sleek modern architecture and resort-style amenities, including children’s play places, family lounges and interactive community gathering spaces.

WS Development

Chestnut Hill, Mass.

WS Development completed eight projects encompassing 703,005 sq. ft. The most significant was The Street in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Originally constructed in 1950, the property has been redeveloped into a powerful new configuration of specialty shops, restaurants and entertainment. The property’s form, feel and function are akin to that of a downtown main street. Comprised of more than 400,000 sq. ft., the LEED-certified center features Sports Club/LA’s first “Jewel Box” concept, National Amusements’ first Showcase SuperLux and Davio’s Cucina theater and dining complex.

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