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Regency Centers Corporation (REG - Analyst Report), a real estate investment trust (REIT),  is set to commence construction of a 280,113 square-foot shopping center named Grand Ridge Plaza in Issaquah Highlands, east of downtown Seattle. Spanning across 24.58 acres, the center will be anchored by Safeway, a major grocery chain in the U.S.

Grand Ridge Plaza will be an open-air center featuring a 44,543 square-foot Safeway store, a 56,820 square-foot 12-screen ‘Regal Cinemas’ and other retail stores, restaurants and entertainment centers. The construction is expected to be completed by fourth quarter 2013, with the first-phase of ‘Regal Cinemas’ opening in the second quarter 2013.

Regency will largely benefit from the prime location of the property as Issaquah Highlands has limited competition due to high barriers to entry. Once fully complete, Issaquah Highlands will have up to 4,540 homes and 3 million square feet of commercial space.

Grand Ridge Plaza will serve the nearby Sammamish Plateau and greater Issaquah areas and Interstate 90. The center is expected to further expand Regency's presence in the Pacific Northwest.

Grand Ridge Plaza is included in Regency's 'greengenuity' program and accordingly will feature green building strategies and energy-efficient design and practices. It will also comply with the overall sustainability principles of the Issaquah Highlands community.

Jacksonville, Florida-based Regency owns, operates and develops grocery-anchored retail shopping centers in the U.S. With properties in high income, high-barrier markets, Regency’s retail strip center portfolio is among the best in the sector and allows it to continually perform at the top-end of its peer group.

Regency currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating. We are also maintaining our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock. One of its competitors, Simon Property Group Inc. (SPG - Analyst Report) holds a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short- term Buy rating.

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