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CHATTANOOGA, TN-CBL & Associates executives are looking to complete $500 million of new shopping-center construction annually, they said during the REIT’s first-quarter conference call. That would put the firm in front of this year’s mark of $365 million.

This year the company is opening four centers across the East Coast. They are: the 840,000-sf Almanac Crossing, Burlington, CT; the 302,000-sf Cobblestone Village, Palm Coast, FL; the 112,000-sf Milford (CT) Marketplace and the 291,000-sf York (PA) Town Center. Management will highlight future development projects at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual convention in Las Vegas later this month.

The company is also undertaking $41.5 million in redevelopments this year, totaling 450,000 sf. Those endeavors include adding lifestyle-center additions to malls around the country, new restaurant spaces and outparcels.

Buying properties is not a major goal of the REIT, but Charles Lebovitz, chairman and chief executive officer, says he is not ruling them out. “If we see the opportunity to generate growth in acquisitions, then we will pursue them,” he says. The company was rumored earlier this year as a suitor for the Pyramid Cos. Northeast mall portfolio, which is on the block.

During the first quarter, which ended March 31, net income fell to $17.4 million, from $20.6 million during the same year ago period and FFO came in at $51 million, declining 2.1%. However, same-store sales in the company’s 131-center portfolio rose 5.4% year over year.

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