Thursday, November 17, 2016
Westbard developer Equity One to disappear into Regency Centers after acquisition
With 307 retail centers, Regency is a giant compared to Equity One (the merged company will now hold 429 properties in total). 223 of those centers have been developed by Regency in the last 16 years alone. They do not have the level of mixed-use experience of firms like Federal Realty or The JBG Companies, something they share with Equity One. CityLine Market in Texas, with almost 4000 housing units, is the only mixed-use property highlighted on the Regency website. But they are definitely a giant in the retail business.
In Montgomery County, they currently own Cloppers Mill Village in Germantown, Firstfield Shopping Center in Gaithersburg, King Farm Village Center, Shoppes of Burnt Mills in Silver Spring, Takoma Park Shopping Center, and Woodmor Shopping Center in Silver Spring.
Some tenants in the Westbard properties Equity One plans to redevelop as a mixed-use urban center have expressed concerns about what the Regency takeover may mean for them. Equity One had made certain public statements about their intentions regarding the transition for existing tenants. But none of these were codified in the Westbard sector plan, and some tenants have reported Equity One would not respond to their wishes to negotiate future leases now, leaving them unable to plan for their future.
Now with new people in charge, whatever tenuous suggestions of goodwill there had been could be out the window - or Regency could take a more proactive approach and reassure tenants of long-term stability via lease extensions or other tangible assurances. So, too, could Regency take a more responsive approach to community concerns about the realization of promises to naturalize the Willett Branch stream, which runs alongside part of the "Westwood Complex" of property Regency now controls; the lack of green space in the plan; building heights and massing along Westbard Avenue; and the relocation of Westbard Avenue and above-ground utilities along it.
We will find out what Regency's approach is in the coming months.