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Ikea, Walmart anchor new shopping center

BEACHWOOD, Ohio — Ikea and Walmart are among the retailers heading to Charlotte, N.C., to anchor the Belgate Shopping Center. The new 900,000-sq.-ft. shopping center is DDR Corp.’s first ground-up domestic development in more than four years. 

The center will also include junior anchors Marshalls, Old Navy, Petco, ULTA, Cost Plus World Market, Hobby Lobby and Shoe Carnival.

Belgate is strategically located along Interstate 85, the primary thoroughfare connecting Washington D.C. and Atlanta and features the only Ikea store between these two major metro areas, extending the project's trade area to more than 2 million shoppers. Additionally, the center's value-oriented merchandise mix will benefit from stable traffic generated by the adjacent UNC Charlotte campus with more than 30,000 students, and the future extension of the Charlotte Area Transit System.

"We're excited to open Belgate Shopping Center ahead of schedule while also exceeding our development return threshold with an unlevered cash on cost return in excess of 10%," said Paul Freddo, senior EVP of leasing and development for DDR. "Belgate represented a unique opportunity to take over a stalled development project, and by leveraging our operating platform, we were able to deliver growth opportunities for our retail partners and our shareholders."

DDR previously announced the acquisitions of Cotswold Village and Carolina Pavilion in Charlotte. With the opening of Belgate, DDR now owns and manages 4 million sq. ft. of gross leasable area in Charlotte resulting in further operating efficiencies in this large and growing metropolitan statistical area. Charlotte now represents DDR's fourth largest market after San Juan, Atlanta and Chicago.

"Belgate will act as a catalyst for increased commercial development along the I-85 corridor in University City. We're excited about DDR's commitment to bringing such a substantial investment to our area," added Mary Hopper, executive director of Charlotte's University City Partners.

DDR owns and manages 445 value-oriented shopping centers representing 116 million sq. ft. in 39 states, Puerto Rico and Brazil.