It was a busy first quarter here at Kimco. We continued strategically refining the portfolio while attracting the highest quality tenants. Many of the initiatives we started months ago – such as the lighting program Illumi-Nation – are now beginning to bear fruit. A handful of big anchor grand openings and completed deals kept Kimco in the news, as well as insightful thought leadership on retail and shopping center trends by our senior executives.

Here are the top media hits for Q1.

Executives in the spotlight

We start with a big hit: Kimco CEO Conor Flynn appeared on CNBC’s Power Lunch for a panel discussion about the health of retail and consumer spending. They covered a lot of topics, and Flynn was asked about the smaller stores that surround a shopping center’s anchors: “That’s where the mom and pop tenants have recovered recently, as well as the restaurants and service industries that are providing a nice offering for our shoppers,” Flynn told the panel.

Next, Senior Director of Strategic Operations Will Teichman appeared on to speak about the Illumi-Nation program, commenting specifically on Kimco’s inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). “It’s a real significant accomplishment that we’re quite proud of,” said Teichman.

Finally, a number of promotions within Kimco’s corporate headquarters were highlighted by Newsday.

Cutting the grand opening ribbons

Kimco’s shopping centers are constantly abuzz with action. Q1 was no different, because numerous new stores opened in our centers.

First, we head to Long Island, New York where the long-awaited Stew Leonard’s finally opened at Airport Plaza in Farmingdale. Now let’s move to Lower Paxton, outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: CVS Pharmacy and a fast casual restaurant agreed in February to open in our shopping center. Suburban Square, in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, announced Delsette, a women's clothing and accessories retailer, will move in this spring. And Target announced it would open an anchor store at Kimco’s Grand Parkway Marketplace in Houston, Texas. Retail throughout Delaware is also in the growth stage as evidenced by our Christiana development plans.

Onto the trends: Open-air shopping centers are now the dominant players in the retail game, according to Conor Flynn in Shopping Centers Today (see page 33). Power centers are becoming the go-to location for supermarkets, including many organic and specialty grocers. Mom and pop retailers are feeling confident in the economy and opening stores as well.

Attracting the investment community

Kimco received some very positive coverage from the investment community in Q1. Brad Thomas, writing on Seeking Alpha, wrote about his experience in the shopping center business and why believing in the company’s strengths made him become a Kimco shareholder. The Wall Street Journal wrote a news article about why shopping center REITs are popular among investors, quoting Conor Flynn on why the company can market vacant spots with higher rents.

The leftovers

Kimco sold a handful of properties in Q1, too. In New York, the Galleria at Crystal Run, which Kimco sold for $12 million right at the end of Q4, caught media's attention in the new year. The company also sold Turtle Creek Crossing in Hattiesburg, Louisiana for more than $48 million, and handed off Acadiana Square, a 244,000-square-foot retail power center in Lafayette for $24 million. Finally, in West Virginia, Kimco sold the Charles Town Plaza for $20.9 million.

Our Illumi-Nation program was the subject of a small case study on, which highlighted how LED lights have reduced the demand for electricity in Melrose Village Plaza in Vista, California by 35 percent.

We end with a roller coaster. Kimco took the famous wooden Hurricane at Dania Beach down piece by piece this quarter to make way for construction to the much-anticipated Dania Pointe lifestyle center.

Check back in July for more Kimco media coverage. Have a great spring!