Regency Begins 280 KSF Shopping Center Outside Seattle

Regency Centers will break ground tomorrow on Grand Ridge Plaza in the master-planned development of Issaquah Highlands in Washington state.

Finding the right location for a shopping center can mean everything, and it looks like Regency Centers has zeroed in on another winner. The national owner, operator and developer of grocery-anchored community centers will break ground tomorrow on Grand Ridge Plaza, a 280,113-square-foot Safeway-anchored center located in the master-planned development of Issaquah Highlands in Washington state.

We have watched the master-planned community develop over time, Craig Ramey, a senior vice president at Regency Centers, told Commercial Property Executive. When the opportunity came up, we went in and pursued it.

The new plaza will be the only major retail center to serve the quickly growing master-planned community, which is located about 15 miles east of downtown Seattle. There are already 3,310 homes completed or under construction at Issaquah Highlands. The development could ultimately see as many as 4,540 homes, 3 million square feet of commercial space and more than 1,500 acres of parks and open spaces.

But Regency isn’t just limiting its focus to attracting residents of Issaquah Highlands. The open-air destination will include a 56,820-square-foot, 12-screen Regal Cinemas and a mix of restaurants, entertainment and destination retailers that should lure shoppers from Sammamish Plateau, greater Issaquah and Interstate 90.

Regency already owns two shopping centers in the bordering Sammamish Plateau. Both assets are dominant in their trade areas, and Grand Ridge Plaza should be no different.

Anytime you have a dominant theater, you are going to draw from the larger area, Ramey said.

Grand Ridge Plaza should also benefit from the Northwest’s lack of retail development in recent years, according to Ramey, who added that vacancy in urban centers has been taken up by expanding tenants, allowing rents to start to firm up. Grand Ridge Plaza is one of the few ground-up projects coming online, and Regency is already seeing strong demand from retailers.

The project, which seeks LEED certification, will open in phases. Regal Cinemas should be selling tickets and popcorn in the second quarter of 2013. The Safeway and remaining retail center should be open for business in the fourth quarter of 2013.