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Recently, DDR Corp. (DDR - Analyst Report) announced the opening of a new prime power center – Belgate Shopping Center – in N.C. The shopping center reflects the real estate investment trust (REIT)’s first ground-up domestic expansion in more than 4 years.

Charlotte-based Belgate Shopping Center spans 900,000 square feet and is strategically positioned along Interstate 85, which is the main street linking Washington D.C. and Atlanta. Notably, the property will likely enjoy high traffic from the vibrant UNC Charlotte campus as well as the proposed extension of Charlotte Area Transit System.  Moreover, the power center is fully anchored by industry leading giants including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT - Analyst Report), IKEA, Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (ULTA - Snapshot Report), Shoe Carnival and others.

Significantly, with the opening of this new power center, DDR now has 4 million square feet of gross leasable area (GLA) in Charlotte. This includes the previously acquired properties – Cotswold Village and Carolina Pavilion. Added to these, Charlotte now represents the company's 4th largest market of operation, next to San Juan, Atlanta and Chicago.

We remain upbeat regarding the above-mentioned shopping center opening as it is a strategic step for DDR. The addition of the property to the company’s wholly owned portfolio is expected to notably enhance the company’s bottom line going forward.

Of late, DDR has been riding on growth trajectory to broaden its footprints in the chief target markets. In connection to this, the company recently inked a deal to buy 30 of 44 shopping centers from its existing joint venture with The Blackstone Group L.P. (BX - Analyst Report) for $1.46 billion. The 30 centers in which DDR will gain complete ownership include Riverdale Village in Minneapolis, Shoppers World in Boston, Woodfield Village Green in Chicago and Fairfax Towne Center in Washington D.C. These significant investments will go a long way in consolidating DDR’s market position.

DDR currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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