Kimco has several new strategic initiatives and projects underway that have been catching the attention of the business community this quarter. I'd like to share a few of the highlights featured by the media.

"Mad Money" interviews Kimco CEO Dave Henry

Kimco CEO Dave Henry discussed the company's strong performance numbers with Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money," in February. You can watch the interview on CNBC's website if you haven't seen it yet, or flip back to our blog post explaining more of what Dave talked about with Jim, including why effective rents are increasing in the face of heightened demand for retail space.

Industry media tap Kimco leaders for their perspectives on the retail market

The Boston Globe's Jenn Abelson spoke to Tom Simmons, Kimco's President of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Regions, about what's behind the trend of national retailers (such as Old Navy and Staples) shrinking their store sizes, and what this means for shopping center operators. I encourage you to read the front-page article, "Big-box retailers shrinking floor space to reduce costs," for more information.

Also, Scott Onufrey, Kimco's head of investment management, weighed in along with other industry experts on the state of real estate investing in the National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers' (NAREIM) Viewpoints blog. Click over to the article, "Looking for signs of a better 2012: The recovery continues," for Scott's perspective on why there is reason for investors to be confident in the recovery of this sector.

Kimco's new FastTrack Franchise program gets off to a fast start

The launch of Kimco's FastTrack Franchise program received quite a bit of coverage in the press. As we discussed in our blog post about FastTrack Franchise, the program matches potential franchise owners with a space in Kimco centers. The space has been pre-approved for specific franchise concepts, streamlining the process of filling a small-store vacancy with a proven business model.

You can read some the press coverage of FastTrack Franchise in, Retail Traffic, Entrepreneur, and New York Real Estate Journal. We also have a FastTrack Franchise webpage where you can learn more about the process.

Kimco upgrades its properties through redevelopment and recycling of assets

Many news outlets reported on our efforts to enhance several of our properties through redevelopment as we focus on building a portfolio of the highest quality assets. An article by editor Kaitlin McCallum in the Farmington Patch, "New Look, New Stores at West Farm Shopping Center," includes some photos of the redevelopment project there as it neared completion. Revitalization projects at Suburban Square in Ardmore, Pa., and at Wilde Lake in Columbia, Md., have also been featured in a series of several articles in the local press.

The media also covered Kimco's ongoing efforts to divest non-retail properties and non-strategic shopping centers and acquire high-value centers in target metropolitan statistical areas. Several articles covered our Q4 2011 transaction activity -- shedding seven and acquiring 10 centers -- as well as of our early 2012 acquisitions of Woodbridge Shopping Center in Texas and Bell Camino in Arizona.

Kimco also purchased a stake in Orleans Gardens, the company's sixth investment in Ottawa, Canada -- an area with high barriers to entry and a fast-growing economy. You can read Joseph Mallia's coverage of this transaction in his Newsday article, "Kimco buys half-interest in Canadian mall."

Kimco matches good business with sustainability

Kimco has been focused on environmental initiatives that also make good business sense. This past quarter, Kimco installed photovoltaic solar energy arrays at our Bridgewater Promenade and Edgewater Commons shopping centers in New Jersey. They will supply an estimated 1.3 million kilowatt hours of clean, zero-emission power annually to the centers' tenants.

Get four takes on this news from Retail Facility Business, CoStar, Michael Stoler Real Estate Report, and, including the impact the solar panels are having on our centers' energy use. Also see our blog post on the photovoltaic solar energy arrays for more details and pictures if you haven't yet.

Industry journalists highlight Kimco in REIT market news coverage

Several journalists who cover the REIT industry highlighted Kimco's solid performance and management team this quarter. Here are two from the bunch.

Journalist Brad Thomas wrote in Forbes about the gains the REIT sector has made over recent quarters, citing Kimco as an example. His article, "Kimco's Making Shopping Centers the Place to Be," provides many of the facts and figures behind Kimco's upward trajectory over the past couple years.

The Motley Fool's Christopher French wrote "Kimco Realty: A Well Positioned Retail REIT," in which he explains how investors should evaluate a REIT's financial results compared to those of a regular stock. Read what he saw in Kimco's financial results that put the company in a good position to generate dividends.

I'm excited that more people have the opportunity to read about the significant happenings at Kimco. If you found this recap interesting, I encourage you to subscribe to Kimco's news feed to receive an alert when our news releases are posted, or subscribe to Kimco's blog feed so you don't miss an article. As always, I enjoy getting your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment below.