While “traditional” developers all over the place are cutting back the development plans, grocer Safeway has decided to get into the shopping-center building enterprise, a Reuters report says.The supermarket operator has 36 developments underway, and Chairman and CEO Steve Burd says there are “pretty extraordinary” opportunities out there to develop centers without spending a lot of capital.So our question is: What year is it? Did we miss something here? Sure, grocers seem to be positioned better than any sector because of their necessity nature, and Safeway’s strong sales and earnings are a reflection of that. But we thought a lot of their success also had to do with conservative store-opening plans and a concentration on renovating their core portfolios.But development? Now?Or is this just the beginning? Will we start seeing some well-positioned companies like Safeway take advantage of the recession and get into the game while others are pulling back?

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