JACKSONVILLE, FL-Regency Centers Corp. turned in record performance for full-year and fourth-quarter 2006. This combined with a pipeline fueled by the Jan. 4 close this year of its $1.2-billion Regency Retail Partners LP fund, previously reported by GSR, to send shares of REG stock to a new 52-week high of $88.45 on the NYSE, up slightly more than 1.5% on Feb. 1, the day the financials were released. That compares with a 52-week low of $59.04 a share on May 15, 2006.

The locally based company reported same-store net operating income increases of 4.4% and 3.8% for the final quarter and full year, respectively. Furthermore, same-store rental rate growth on a cash basis rose 10.5% in fourth quarter 2006 and 12.6% for the year. These represented eight years of same-store increases, said Mary Lou Fiala, president and COO, during a conference call.

At year-end 2006, Regency’s operating properties were 95.2% leased. During the conference call, Fiala noted that the company’s occupancy was never below 94%, compared to industry averages, which she says have been as low as 91%. Among the “hot tenants” at Regency properties, Fiala said, are Chico’s, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and Citi Financial.

Brian Smith, chief investment officer, said 52 development projects are underway at an investment of more than $500 million. It is the first time Regency “broke the $500-million threshold,” he said, adding that the developments underway are, in the aggregate, 76% leased.

Martin Stein, chairman and CEO, said the company now has a shadow pipeline of $1.8-billion and anticipates investing in excess of $500 million in development in 2007. A third of the projects will be neighborhood centers, and two-thirds community centers, he added.

During fourth-quarter 2006 alone, the company started 11 new developments at net costs of $244 million after partnership participation. Among them is the Target-anchored, 499,142-sf Applegate Ranch Shopping Center in Merced, CA, which is 36% leased, according to a Jan. 31 SEC filing, and scheduled for completion in March 2008.

Another is Middle Creek Commons, a 74,098-sf center, scheduled to open this November anchored by Lowes Foods. It is 67% pre-leased, according to the SEC filing.

Regency sold three properties at an aggregate price of $66.1 million in fourth quarter and sold $735 million of properties during 2006. Proof that it is continuing to buy, the Regency-CalSTERS partnership acquired Shops at the Columbia, the ground-floor retail component of condominiums in Washington DC’s affluent West End for $11.4 million. Trader Joe’s anchors the retail portion.

Regency’s funds from operations for fourth quarter were $77 million, up from $64.9 million for the same quarter of 2005, and net income during the same 2006 quarter was $61.5 million, up from $43.4 million for the parallel quarter of 2005. Net income for the full year was $198.8 million, up from $145.9 million in 2005. This represents a per-share increase of 29.6%.

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