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Simon Property Group, Inc. (SPG - Analyst Report), a real estate investment trust (REIT),  has recently signed a letter of intent (LOI)  with Paragon Outlet Partners, a commercial real estate development firm, to jointly develop Charlotte Premium Outlets in Greater Charlotte region. Both parties would hold a 50% stake in the project which is expected to open in 2014.

Spanning 400,000 square feet, the center will be located in Stallings, North Carolina, at Interstate 485 and Idlewild Road. Following the opening of this center, the residents in this area will have fashionable merchandise available on trend with various designers and branded stores at the outlet. The mall is reportedly expected to house approximately 100 designer and name brand stores when it is unveiled.

The shopping center is likely to benefit the partners by capitalizing on the continuous growth opportunities in the Charlotte market. This type of upscale development is expected to  bring high-quality retail options for consumers and a positive impact to the marketplace. Simon Property already has a major presence in this market with the South Park and Concord Mills centers.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Simon Property is the largest publicly traded retail real estate company in North America, engaged in acquiring, owning and leasing a diverse portfolio of shopping malls. Furthermore, the company’s international presence gives it a more sustainable long-term growth story compared to its domestically focused peers. The geographic and product diversity of the company insulates it from market volatility to a great extent and provides a steady source of income.

Simon Property currently retains a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term Buy rating. We are also maintaining our long-term Outperform recommendation on the stock. One of its competitors, The Macerich Company (MAC - Analyst Report) holds a Zacks #2 Rank

Note: LOI is an agreement that describes in detail a corporation’s action to execute a corporate action.

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