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BY Katherine Boccaccio

While there still is not enough new shopping center construction to warrant a “Fastest-Growing Developers” ranking system — as Chain Store Age provided for 20 consecutive years, from 1989 to 2008 — progress continues to be made.

Rather than tally the top five or six shopping center owners’ added square footage for the prior year and generate a fastest-growing list, since 2009’s recessionary climate we instead have turned our focus to those developers that have built new ground-up centers or expanded through comprehensive redevelopment projects, and recognized those companies as “top developers.”

Our research and surveys revealed a dozen firms that led the development charge in 2011. We showcase those companies, and their most significant projects, here. And there is plenty to crow about. New centers have added jobs and improved communities. Expansions have brought desirable retailers to new markets. A new kind of outlet center has redefined the format.

We have arranged the companies alphabetically, below, and have described one or more projects for each. All new developments and expansion square footage were completed between Jan. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2011.

Brixmor Property Group
New York City
Brixmor Property Group added nearly 1.3 million sq. ft. to its portfolio in 2011, which ranked the New York City-based shopping center owner among our top in terms of pure square footage. Brixmor counts among its most significant projects of the year its Sarasota (Fla.) Village redo, involving the addition of a new 46,000-sq.-ft. prototypical Publix and a rehab of the center. Additional anchors include Big Lots, Gold’s Gym and HomeGoods.

Casto
Columbus, Ohio
Of the 489,684 sq. ft. added last year, Casto’s hallmark projects were the Phase I opening of Park West Village mixed-use development in Morrisville, N.C., and the redevelopment of Randhurst Village, Mount Prospect, Ill.

Park West Village saw major Phase I tenant openings in 2011, including Target, T.J. Maxx, Buy Buy Baby and PetSmart. The project in total spans 100 acres and will include a town center district, community center, upscale casual restaurants and a movie theater, mixed with residential, office and hospitality.

The Randhurst Village redevelopment has so far seen openings from T.J. Maxx, AMC12, Charming Charlie and Old Navy, among others.

CBL & Associates Properties
Chattanooga, Tenn.
CBL entered the outlet arena in a big way in 2011, completing The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City (in a joint venture with Horizon Group Properties) as part of its 890,372 sq. ft. of new construction last year.

On Aug. 5, 2011, The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City opened fully leased to huge crowds. The 350,000-sq.-ft. outlet center introduces more than 40 new retail names to the area, including Nike, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Brooks Brothers, Guess, Chico’s, Coach, Banana Republic, DKNY, J.Crew, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger and Under Armour.

Excel Trust
San Diego
New to our list is Excel Trust, which added 258,000 sq. ft. last year, with the redevelopment of Northside Plaza in Dothan, Ala., the opening of Phase II of the Plaza at Rockwall (Texas), and the Phase I opening of Red Rock Commons in St. George, Utah.

The West Coast-based company highlights the Plaza at Rockwall property as its most significant, as the redevelopment of the 436,000-sq.-ft. retail center added a new dimension in the form of food and service offerings. J.C. Penney, Dick’s, Staples, Best Buy and Belk anchor Phase I, and HomeGoods and Jo-Ann Fabrics anchor Phase II.

Forest City Enterprises
Cleveland
Of all the developers listed here, Forest City probably generated the most headlines with the opening of its Westchester’s Ridge Hill project in Yonkers, N.Y.

The 1.3 million-sq.-ft. Westchester’s Ridge Hill has delivered to affluent Westchester County a full spectrum of desirable offerings. Open tenants include Whole Foods Market, REI, National Amusements’ Cinema de Lux, Dick’s, L.L.Bean, Sephora, The Cheesecake Factory and Yard House.

At press time, Lord & Taylor was preparing to open its landmark store at Westchester’s Ridge Hill, and will be joined in 2012 by Brio Tuscan Grille and Republic of Couture, among others.

Kimco Realty Corp.
New Hyde Park, N.Y.
Kimco added 1.6 million sq. ft. of new development in 2011, plus completed nine redevelopment projects. The company highlights one of its international properties, La Ciudadela in Guadalajara, Mexico, as a significant project for the year. The Wal-Mart- and Cinepolis-anchored center features 758,000 sq. ft. in an open-air setting, making it one of just a handful of open-air centers in the City of Guadalajara. That, and the fact that Kimco was able to offer the community a combination of service, fashion and entertainment via La Ciudadela, makes it a notable project.

PREIT
Philadelphia
PREIT has never wavered from its core mission of making its centers as relevant and customer-centric as any of the best properties in the country. Transforming the outdated Echelon Mall, in Voorhees, N.J., into Voorhees Town Center is an example.

The multi-year, multi-phase project included right-sizing and renovating the enclosed mall, adding outparcels and constructing an office building, and then incorporating a mixed-use Town Center Boulevard. The addition of street-level retail and dining along the Boulevard is part of the center’s transformation into a “downtown” for the community. In 2011, Voorhees Town Hall relocated to the center and several new eateries opened, furthering the town center appeal of the project.

Regency Centers
Jacksonville, Fla.
In March 2011, Regency Centers opened Market at Colonnade, a 57,625-sq.-ft. neighborhood center in Raleigh, N.C., that features the state’s first newly constructed Whole Foods Market. Partnering with WelCor Development, this infill development set a new standard for environmentally responsible development as the first retail project in the Triangle designed and constructed to meet the LEED Core and Shell standards established by the USGBC for certification, and as an innovator of a stormwater management system recognized by the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund. Key tenant Whole Foods designed its store interior to meet USGBC certification guidelines.

The Sembler Co.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Of the 355,471 sq. ft. it added last year, Sembler counts Town Brookhaven, in Atlanta, as its most significant. Community impact cannot be overstated; Town Brookhaven replaced an aging apartment complex in a commercially blighted area of the Peachtree corridor and has sparked new development and economic growth for DeKalb County. The project is anchored by LA Fitness, Publix, Costco, CinéBistro and Marshalls, as well as a lineup of hot restaurants that include Stir Crazy and Olive Bistro. Nearly 1,000 residential units and more than 22,000 sq. ft. of office space are part of the project as well.

Simon Property Group
Indianapolis
A value-center heavyweight added even more bulk in 2011, as Simon’s Premium Outlet division unveiled its first presence in Malaysia with the Johor Premium Outlets in Johor, a second Premium Outlet in South Korea and an expansion to, and name tweak of, Las Vegas Premium Outlets – South.

In fact, among its 818,000 sq. ft. of new development in 2011, only about l00,000 sq. ft. were NOT outlet space, demonstrating Simon’s clear understanding of where the market is trending.

Westfield
Los Angeles
In total square footage added in 2011, Westfield was the runaway winner, expanding its portfolio size by 2.4 million sq. ft. last year. And it wasn’t just international growth. Besides centers in Australia and the United Kingdom, Westfield added domestic muscle with expansions to malls in California, Washington and Illinois, among others.

However, the company highlights as its most significant project Westfield Stratford City, in London. The $2.3 billion new development comprises what Westfield describes as the most ambitious project in its history. Situated directly adjacent to the London 2012 Olympic Park, the property is an international gateway to the upcoming Olympic Games, with three-quarters of all spectators expected to walk through the grounds on their way to the Games.

Westfield Stratford City encompasses 1.9 million sq. ft. of retail space and is now the single largest urban shopping center in all of Europe.

WS Development
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
The redevelopment of its Center at Lenox (Mass.) is the project that WS heralds as its most noteworthy of last year. The 194,000-sq.-ft. property, built in 1973, consisted of Price Chopper, CVS, Marshalls and additional retail. The 2011 redevelopment entailed Price Chopper’s relocation to a new, environmentally friendly building at the opposite side of the center, the addition of a new freestanding CVS, space for new tenant Berkshire Bank, and parking lot and façade improvements.

The resulting $8-million Price Chopper superstore is a state-of-the-art building designed to achieve silver-level LEED certification.

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M.Donovan says:
Nov-26-2012 12:47 pm

This is the future! We should build more and more and for sure we will have improvements! lavrion charter

M.Donovan says:
Nov-26-2012 12:47 pm

This is the future! We should build more and more and for sure we will have improvements! lavrion charter

D.Khatri says:
Nov-23-2012 12:52 pm

Im glad to be back on your website and reading your latest posts. Its great to see you types of essay still pushing out some great reading material for us loyal readers. Ill be back soon.

D.Khatri says:
Nov-23-2012 12:52 pm

Im glad to be back on your website and reading your latest posts. Its great to see you types of essay still pushing out some great reading material for us loyal readers. Ill be back soon.

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Moving Dirt

BY CSA STAFF

There wasn’t a retail real estate insider in the country who didn’t send up a little cheer on March 22, when the only regional shopping center to open in 2012 did just that — it opened. To retailers. To dignitaries. To shoppers.

In fact, when City Creek Center owner/operator Taubman snipped the ceremonial ribbon draping the entrance of the downtown Salt Lake City center, the significance couldn’t have been lost on anyone, not even the “civilians” in attendance.

A new shopping center came out of the ground. On that one day, just like the day a year earlier when Forest City’s 1.3 million-sq.-ft. masterpiece Westchester’s Ridge Hill opened in Yonkers, N.Y., we could focus on growth, and not on an agonizingly slow economic recovery.

Like Ridge Hill, City Creek Center isn’t your run-of-the-mill regional shopping center. If I were comparing it with ice cream, I’d liken City Creek to Pecan Praline Crunch (yes, my Louisiana roots are showing). With whipped cream and sprinkles.

A retractable skylight roof — the first in the United States on a mall — covers the 700,000-sq.-ft. retail and dining destination. A 140-ft. skybridge creates a column-less connection between city blocks and offers a stop-off point from which to view Main Street. A 1,200-ft. creek (recreating historic City Creek, no less) courses through the property, and two 18-ft. waterfalls cascade onto sandstone boulders.

It wouldn’t be practical to focus just on the bells and whistles, though, because we all know that the only sound that really counts is the ring of cash registers.

Ninety-two retailers opened in concert with the opening of the center, with another three stores slated to open in 2012. Nordstrom and Macy’s are anchors, and a third of the stores and restaurants are new to the city or the state, including Tiffany & Co., Michael Kors, Coach, Tumi and Brooks Brothers.

This April/May issue of Chain Store Age — geared toward the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon event in Las Vegas this month — has a good bit of development chatter, but don’t discount the importance of the redevelopment movement. Our annual survey of Top Developers demonstrates a weighted focus on rehabs over new build, as you might expect, and our annual RECon preview confirms that redevelopments will take center stage at the Vegas convention.

Just as developers keep building and rehabbing, acquirers keep buying and third-party managers continue to add properties to their management portfolios at a dizzying rate, dominated by CB Richard Ellis and Jones Lang LaSalle. Enjoy!

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Retailers Turn to Alternate Financing Options

BY Marianne Wilson

Access to operating capital remains an ongoing challenge for some retailers, which are still facing a difficult time when it comes to securing a loan. The problem is particularly acute for small and medium-sized businesses: Among U.S. small business owners, 90% believe the availability of credit for small businesses is a problem, and 61% agree it’s harder to get a loan now than it was four years ago, according to a recent study by the American Sustainable Business Council, Small Business Majority and Main Street Alliance.

As a result, some retailers are looking beyond traditional finance options and seeking out alternative lending solutions. One such option is merchant cash advance services, which can provide retailers with the fast capital needed for renovations, inventory, expansion and other needs. Also known as business cash advances, the growing popularity of merchant cash advance services is driven by relatively low personal credit requirements and quick process of obtaining the cash advance.

“Merchant cash advance services supply retailers with working capital via a relatively fast and easy process, and are tailored specifically for businesses that accept credit cards. The firm purchases the future credit card revenues of the retailer at a discount,” explained Seth Broman, VP business development for New York City-based Merchant Cash and Capital, which provides working capital to restaurant, retail and services businesses.

The amount of funding the retailer is eligible to receive is based on its average monthly credit and debit card processing volumes, and most businesses can typically qualify for one to two times their average monthly processing volume, according to Broman. The advance is paid back by remitting a percentage of the business’ daily credit card processing receipts to the merchant cash advance provider.

“An advance can be paid back between six and 12 months,” Broman said. “A typical advance can be structured in three to five days, allowing the retailer access to the capital needed almost immediately.”

To be approved, the retailer must be open for at least six months, accept credit cards and process an average of at least $5,000 per month in credit card sales. Additionally, retailers are not required to pledge collateral or post personal guarantees as they often are with traditional commercial lending vehicles.

“Since the advance is paid back with a fixed percentage of future credit card sales, there are no large monthly payments bearing down on the business owner, which is especially helpful for seasonal businesses,” Broman said.

Retail operator Samuel Placeres, the owner of Seventh Avenue Stores, an East Coast-based women’s apparel chain with 11 stores, is among those retailers to utilize alternative financing. Having been in operation for just over a year, Placeres was focused on increasing profits of his fledgling chain. He wanted to open a location in New Hampshire but lacked the extra revenue needed to purchase all of the required inventory.

At Merchant Cash and Capital, Placeres was able to secure a $75,000 advance that enabled him to stock enough inventory to open the new store on time.

“You can’t open a new store without inventory, and Merchant Cash and Capital was able to provide the quick and easy financing I needed to overcome my financial setback,” Placeres said. “It was a great service and I plan on using it again in the future.”

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P.Adams says:
Jan-02-2013 08:27 am

I am sure that today it’s time for alternative lending and financing. More and more people choose alternative lending products. I think that banks, especially big ones like Bank of America, do not treat their consumers well. It’s better to apply to an alternative lender because there’s a chance to be offered really good terms and conditions. Also you can spend your time, money and enjoy a very good service. Times change and today there are lots of ways to get funding when it’s necessary. Melany from http://bit.ly/N1y0Iq

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