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In order to enhance customers shopping experience, Simon Property Group, Inc. (SPG - Analyst Report) disclosed the extensive renovation plan of the Southeast's premier upscale shopping center – Phipps Plaza – positioned at the center of Atlanta's prominent Buckhead area. The refurbishment activity will be initiated in the summer this year and is expected to complete before the start of holidays.

As per the first series of renovations, Phipps Plaza will get an extensive makeover, which will comprise interior repainting, LED light upgrade and restrooms remodeling. Notably, the refurbishments at the shopping center will provide Simon Property energy-saving benefits. Moreover, the parking decks will be upgraded through the renovations.

Apart from the abovementioned renovation plans, Simon Property intends to redo the entrance area of Phipps Plaza. This will include the addition of a 164-room hotel with upscale dining and 320 luxury residential units.

Founded in 1969, Phipps Plaza is a 3-level shopping center and is recognized for its diverse and exclusive store mix. The center boasts over 100 stores of world renowned retailers such as Nordstrom Inc. (JWN - Analyst Report), Gucci, Tiffany & Co. (TIF - Analyst Report), Valentino and Michael Kors Holdings Limited (KORS - Analyst Report).

We view the aforementioned move as a strategic long-term investment by Simon Property. This is expected to provide the company a considerable up-market potential and boost this famed property’s value.

Simon Property is slated to report its first-quarter 2014 results on Apr 22, before the market opens. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for FFO per share for the quarter is pegged at $2.24, representing year-over-year growth of 9.09%.

This retail real estate investment trust (REIT) has an Earnings ESP of +1.34% for first-quarter 2014. This, along with its Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), makes us confident about a positive earnings surprise.

Note: FFO, a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs, is obtained after adding depreciation and amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.

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