Mellody Farm | Chicago, IL
Regency Centers’ efforts in the community are more than just an extension of our Core Values, they are an extension of our people. Whether through philanthropic efforts, retailer partnerships, or helping our neighbors; bettering our communities is as important to how we operate as our merchandising and placemaking.
In 2021, we saw the continuation of our virtual volunteering campaigns and continued our strategic partnerships with The United Way®, Habitat for Humanity®, and the YMCA®. Combined with our volunteering and giving in the field, Regency was able to accrue more than 1,700 volunteer hours, and surpassed $1.4 million in charitable contributions – exceeding our 2021 goal of 90% or more employee participation in our United Way® campaign. However, our attempts to better our communities don’t end with volunteering and financial contributions. In many cases, they come directly from our operations.
For example, our Philadelphia team was able to provide support to a family impacted by domestic abuse during the holidays, in partnership with the Women Against Abuse organization. This was done in lieu of an office holiday outing, and solely on their own initiative. As advocates for amplifying women's voices, as well as health and safety, we were proud to see our team donating their time to such a worthy cause.
In Spring, Texas, our local office donated the courtyard at The Market at Springwoods Village for a dance recital venue. The large, open-air location hosted a fantastic group of young girls from the Cypress Elite Dance Studio, whose goal is to create an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere for active children.
In addition to ensuring strong local relationships and thriving centers to serve neighborhoods, we also work to demonstrate our respect for local culture and values.
Village District — previously known as Cameron Village — is one of the most iconic and recognizable shopping centers located in the Triangle-area of North Carolina, as well as the greater Southeast. It was discovered that Duncan Cameron, an ancestor of the family for whom the center was named, was at one time the largest slave-owner in the eastern United States. As a result, Regency underwent a careful and considerate process to remove the name from this prominent retail shopping destination at the beginning of 2021. Simultaneously, Regency performed an audit on the historic names of our remaining centers to gain a better understanding of the legacy behind their names, and have since renamed a few of our centers.
Investing in Communities
Westbard Square | Bethesda, MD
In certain cases, it isn’t the community that needs enhancing — it is the existing shopping center. We strive to improve our communities by investing in property enhancements and placemaking at our new and existing shopping centers. Bethesda, Maryland is home to Westbard Square, a very busy and interwoven location that is at the interconnection of several neighborhoods. After acquiring Westbard Square in 2017, Regency immediately recognized the need to bring the quality of the physical location to the standards of its surroundings. Heavily outdated buildings, designs, and infrastructures were all incorporated into a large-scale redevelopment plan. Normally, a project of this size would take a site offline for years. However, due to careful and considerate planning, the team in our Washington, D.C. office found a way to complete planning and permitting and start construction in 2021, ensuring that the essential services of Westbard Square remained open at all times throughout what we expect to be a seven-year redevelopment timeline.
Local Economic Impacts
Regency’s commitment to its communities also includes investing to achieve positive local economic impacts. When investing in property development, enhancement, and redevelopment, we not only focus on creating an inviting environment for connecting merchants and customers — we look at how our properties generate jobs, improve traffic flow, provide green spaces, and increase taxable income. For each project, we develop a stakeholder communication plan that ensures we cultivate strong and meaningful relationships with cities, municipalities, and local communities in the areas where our centers are located. Being transparent and honest is incredibly important to those relationships, as is reaching stakeholders in the most appropriate forum.
Additionally, we look for opportunities to strengthen our properties’ LEED and Green Building Standards — opportunities such as energy efficiencies, water conservation, and internal air quality. Collectively, these efforts are complemented by our grocers, restaurants, and other service providers in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Responsibility for local economic performance lies with Regency’s Executive Committee who, collectively, are responsible for establishing goals, monitoring progress against those goals, and reporting to our Board on a quarterly basis. The effectiveness of the management of this topic is assessed through financial reporting and monitoring performance relative to goals and expectations.
At Regency, it is imperative that our shopping center customers and tenants feel safe, secure, and welcome at our centers. Our community monitoring plan ensures that we use many channels for engagement. Tenants have a number of channels to contact us: directly with our property managers, or through a work-order system on the tenant portal of our corporate website, to advise us of specific needs. Regular tenant surveys are also used to gain further insights into how our centers and engagement can be improved.
While our efforts to engage and build strong relationships with communities is vitally important, it is even more important that our properties remain safe and secure. Should a crisis arise that could affect customer safety or our retailers' operations, Regency utilizes a dedicated Crisis Management team made up of various members from seven different departments.