Being a good neighbor sits at the heart of being a good corporate citizen. Through these efforts, we look to build stronger communities with our presence, and create a sense of place at our centers.
Not only do we hire the best talent in our local and regional markets, we also make sure that we spend time improving those communities. Since our employees live in the communities they serve, there is a great passion for philanthropic efforts as part of our Core Values. Employees are encouraged to support these causes with donation-matching, as well as up to 52 hours of paid time off per year to volunteer. This type of involvement and interaction helps to deepen the bond between Regency and our communities, which is crucial for our long-term success.
Regency directly sponsors a variety of opportunities, including annual giving and volunteer campaigns. In 2019, our employees and company gave $1.4 million to charitable causes and approximately 75% of us donated our time through volunteer hours. Thanks to our employees’ time, effort, and generous giving an incredible amount of change occurred in 2019.
Recently, we have developed a new charitable contribution program. The ouRCommunities Program provides Regency employees the opportunity to participate in selecting an organization to receive a gift to support work furthering a cause that is important to them, and makes a difference in our communities. The ouRCommunities Program is another opportunity for our employees to engage in Regency’s giving efforts every year.
We have a special relationship with United Way that has developed over many years through our annual giving and volunteering campaign. In addition to giving, the campaign provides an opportunity for our people to learn how their individual and Regency's collective efforts are making a difference for families and communities. Approximately 95% of employees gave to the United Way campaign in 2019, and given its importance to us we have developed a 2020 participation goal. We believe having a broad participation goal will encourage employees to engage in a way that best suits them.
- Provide a philanthropic program with corporate donations to community organizations that align with our values and support for employee philanthropic efforts
- 90% or greater employee participation in our annual United Way Campaign
Regency's and ULI's Urbanplan Outreach
Again in 2019, we partnered with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in their outreach program called UrbanPlan. This program’s mission is to create a sophisticated level of discourse among local stakeholders involved in land use decisions through the education of tomorrow’s voters, neighbors, community leaders, public officials, and land use professionals. It is a realistic, engaging exercise where we work with local high school students to learn about the fundamental forces that affect real estate development in our communities. For Regency, we felt it important to not only help tomorrow’s leaders and influencers understand the importance of what we do, but to also learn valuable problem solving and strategic management skills. In this case the most important thing we can donate is our time and knowledge.
The Field at Commonwealth | Washington, D.C. | Grand Opening
Investing in our Communities
As responsible neighbors, our outlook on impact remains wide-reaching. Not only do we invest in property development, redevelopment, enhancement, and creating a sense of “place” at our centers, we also look at how our properties generate jobs, improve traffic flow, provide green spaces and increase taxable income. Our best-in-class grocers, restaurants, and retailers also provide an additional aggregated impact with their own efforts, often working in tandem with ours. We achieved our 2019 goal to introduce a reporting process that will better enable us to focus on and understand these elements of our projects going forward.
In the communities in which our centers are located, Regency has developed strong and meaningful relationships with cities, municipalities, and local communities over the years. Our efforts begin long before shovel hits dirt, and continue long beyond the project completion. Being transparent and honest is incredibly important in building those relationships not only with the local governments, but also the residents who live, work, and play there. We continue to see the results of our unique approach, which provides direct interaction between our teams and the various stakeholders in the community. Because of this, our project timelines are smoother and quicker than they would be without this important effort.
This area of engagement is overseen directly by our Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, our four Managing Directors, and General Counsel. Each of them plays an important part in Regency’s engagement with public officials in order to ensure we do business and operate our centers in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
While the COVID-19 crisis impacted the timing of some development and redevelopment projects, we will continue to work towards achieving our five year investment goal. We remain committed to investing in communities and best-in-class neighborhood shopping centers.
- $1.25 billion of development and redevelopment starts over the next 5 years
Market at Springwoods Village Tree Giveaway
The Market at Springwoods Village, in Houston, Texas, teamed up with Trees For Houston to give back in a big way: by providing residents with their pick of more than 300 five-gallon trees on a free, first-come, first-served basis. The family-friendly tree planting season celebration and giveaway included live music, food and beverage sampling with earth-conscious activities – ultimately inspired by the community damage that Hurricane Harvey left Houston with in 2017. The event took place on a sunny November Saturday in the courtyard between Mod Pizza and B. Good. The property also contains sustainably-focused efforts including the preserving of the area’s natural ecosystems, building new energy-smart homes, and reducing dependence on cars by providing a walkable mix of retail shops, restaurants, office facilities and public amenities. In addition to doing what’s right for the community, being a low-impact development has created interest from retailers who also prioritize sustainability.
Health and Safety at Our Centers
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. Oversight of this crucial responsibility falls to our Property Operations teams. Through their efforts, we engage in ongoing property inspections to identify on-site improvements and determine areas for maintenance, replacements, and enhancements to our centers.
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. Experts from our Legal, Risk Management, Property Operations, and Communications teams work hand-in-hand with the affected regions and report directly to our Executive and Operating Committees. In 2020, we are looking to build even stronger capabilities to address growing safety concerns tied to COVID-19 and climate change.
Property Operations receives support from all internal departments to enhance the public safety and enjoyment of our centers
Responding to StormsAn example of not only environmental risk, but also of customer safety, occurred at our Preston Oaks center in Dallas, Texas. In October of 2019, the area was devastated by an EF3 tornado. Although no one at the center was injured during the storm, roughly 80% of the property was damaged. Our teams went into quick action by working with the local police, erecting protective fencing and other barriers to ensure the safety of community members and tenant belongings, and engaging our structural engineers to do a thorough survey of the damage.
We went to work creating a reconstruction plan that would help preserve our tenants’ businesses, and return tenants to normal operations. This was done in careful coordination with our Dallas office Property Management and Construction Management groups, as well as corporate support from Legal, Risk Management, Communications, and Environmental specialists. Our Risk Management team worked directly with the affected tenants to help ensure an efficient and accurate insurance process. As a result of our quick action to manage the risks, prioritize community safety and tenant recovery, some tenants are already back open and serving the community, with the remainder expected to follow a safe and thorough reconstruction timeline into late 2020 and early 2021.