BEACHWOOD, Ohio, May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- DDR Corp. (NYSE: DDR) today announced the opening of Belgate Shopping Center, the Company's first ground-up domestic development in over four years. Belgate is a 100% leased, 900,000-square-foot prime power center located in Charlotte, North Carolina, anchored by IKEA, Walmart and a complimentary lineup of junior anchors including Marshalls, ULTA, Old Navy, Petco, Cost Plus World Market, Hobby Lobby and Shoe Carnival.
Belgate is strategically located along Interstate 85, the primary thoroughfare connecting Washington D.C. and Atlanta and features the only IKEA store between these two major metro areas, extending the project's trade area to more than 2 million shoppers. Additionally, the center's value-oriented merchandise mix will benefit from stable traffic generated by the adjacent UNC Charlotte campus with more than 30,000 students, and the future extension of the Charlotte Area Transit System.
"We're excited to open Belgate Shopping Center ahead of schedule while also exceeding our development return threshold with an unlevered cash on cost return in excess of 10%," said Paul Freddo, senior executive vice president of leasing and development for DDR. "Belgate represented a unique opportunity to take over a stalled development project, and by leveraging our operating platform, we were able to deliver growth opportunities for our retail partners and our shareholders."DDR previously announced the acquisitions of Cotswold Village and Carolina Pavilion in Charlotte. With the opening of Belgate, DDR now owns and manages four million square feet of GLA in Charlotte resulting in further operating efficiencies in this large and growing MSA. Charlotte now represents DDR's fourth largest market after San Juan, Atlanta and Chicago. Municipal leaders have expressed appreciation for DDR's investment and expertise in taking over a project that had been delayed for several years under previous ownership, as the shopping center will continue to provide enhanced retail amenities and key infrastructure and services to the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and the surrounding trade area. Mary Hopper, executive director of Charlotte's University City Partners, concluded, "Belgate will act as a catalyst for increased commercial development along the I-85 corridor in University City. We're excited about DDR's commitment to bringing such a substantial investment to our area."