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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.
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
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.
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
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.