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LOS ANGELES-On the heels of his promotion to chief investment officer in Regency Centers’ Los Angeles office, Brian Smith tells GlobeSt.com that Southern California ranks high on the company’s list for development and acquisitions. In fact, Smith notes, Southern California represents one of the most active development and investment regions of the country for Regency, which has development projects under way in all parts of the Southland. “Los Angeles and Orange County alone represent 11.1% of Regency’s NOI, making it the second largest investment market in the country, and just shy of No. 1,” Smith tells GlobeSt.com. The new Regency chief investment officer, who formerly held the title of managing director Investments for the Pacific, Mid-Atlantic and New England regions, will be responsible for investments and acquisitions nationwide. Smith will be looking for development opportunities, acquisitions and redevelopment prospects in the Pacific Region, where Regency historically develops about $150 million to $160 million in new properties each year. In Southern California, the company has projects ranging from Vista in San Diego County to Ranch Bernardo and Bear Creek in the Inland Empire, Seal Beach in Orange County, Los Angeles County and points north like Santa Clarita and Santa Barbara. The Pacific Region of California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada accounts for 10.8 million sf of Regency’s holdings, or about 22% of the leasable space in the REIT’s portfolio. Southern California accounts for about 5.5 million sf of that according to Regency’s latest quarterly report. Smith tells GlobeSt.com that construction costs are definitely higher in Southern California than in most parts of the country, but the region makes up for some of the higher costs with higher rents. Although rents are not rising as fast as construction costs, “Much of what is in our pipeline has been in the works for years, so the properties are performing very well,” Smith says. Regency’s Southern California development and acquisition plans are part of a nationwide development program that aims to build about $300 million to $500 million in new projects per year. Regency, which focuses on grocery-anchored, neighborhood retail centers, owned 383 retail properties totaling 48.9 million sf as of June 30. Smith, a 27-year industry veteran, served as SVP at Los Angeles-based Lowe Enterprises before joining Regency. He began his real estate development career at Trammell Crow Co. in 1984, eventually becoming a partner in the firm and a member of the company’s National Retail Executive Committee.

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