Kimco’s second quarter saw a lot of positive momentum that caught the media’s attention. Two honors in particular still have us smiling -- Real Estate Forum magazine named CEO David Henry a “Real Estate Icon” in its May issue, and our website brought home a gold NAREIT Investor CARE Award in June. Congrats again, Dave, and congrats to our website team!

There’s been much more happening at Kimco in Q2, though, from leasing to redevelopment, acquisitions, dispositions, and corporate responsibility. Here’s a recap of recent media stories featuring Kimco to update you on where our various projects are heading and what market trends we’re watching over the coming quarters.

Leasing continues on an upswing

Over in Staten Island, renovations at Kimco’s Richmond Avenue shopping center are nearing completion. The renovations include new parking lot signage, paving, landscaping, and lighting. Additionally, Miller’s Ale House and Old Navy are slated to open to join existing tenants Time Warner Cable, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Jade Island, and Pathmark.

In addition, we’ll soon be welcoming new retailers to Wilde Lake Village Center, where we broke ground in May. Our $17 million redevelopment project will bring retail space, 200 apartment units, office space, and an expanded courtyard to Wilde Lake, Md. The first new retail stores are expected to open in 2014.

Kimco leased up the courtyard at Suburban Square with the addition of Crumbs Bake Shop, Clarks, Jack Wills, Everything But Water, and several soon-to-open retailers -- Ten Thousand Villages, SEE Eyewear, and Kate Spade. We invested in a courtyard renovation project in late 2011, and the effort is paying off by attracting new, high-end retailers.

Major acquisitions and sales

Kimco was active on the acquisition front, so much so that CoStar’s Mark Heschmeyer named Kimco one of the publication’s 25 REITs most likely to purchase your property. Proving his point, Kimco purchased one of its existing institutional partner’s stake in two retail portfolios of 70 shopping centers for $67 million at a blended cap rate of 6.6 percent. Our ownership in Kimco Income Fund I is now 39.2 percent and Kimco Income REIT is 48.6 percent.

We also increased our ownership interest in the Kimco-UBS (KUBS) joint venture from 18 percent to 33 percent. Blackstone acquired the remaining 67 percent of the portfolio. This joint venture consists of 5.6 million square feet throughout 39 shopping centers in New York, Texas, Virginia, California, Florida, and Maine.

On the disposition side, Kimco completed the sale of nine properties in Mexico for US$274 million. Kimco also disposed of more non-retail assets in the second quarter. We divested the largest non-retail holding of our portfolio with the sale of InTown Suites to Starwood Capital Group for a gross sales price of $735 million. With this sale, our non-retail investment balance is now less than 2 percent of gross assets.

We also moved forward in monetizing our industrial assets. Kimco and JV partner American Industries agreed to sell an 11 million-square-foot industrial property portfolio in Mexico to Terrafina, a Mexico-based REIT, for $600 million.

Retail’s best performing markets

Kimco CEO David Henry touched upon the high barriers of entry in California in his appearance on “Mad Money” with Jim Cramer. California can have an arduous entitlement process to develop a property. So once a landlord has a property in the state, the site usually benefits from high occupancy. Shopping centers anchored by a grocery store are in a particularly good spot, as they are somewhat immune to the e-commerce battle.

Commercial Property Executive recently covered trends in retailer expansion. Rob Nadler, President of Kimco’s Central Region, expressed in the article that many small businesses and mom-and-pop stores decided to ride out the recession by opening up franchises. Kimco has a program that supports franchising, FastTrack Franchise, where we pre-approve shop space for new franchisees, helping prospective tenants find a space that will best suit their needs.

Major cities that are difficult to enter will continue to be the best performing markets for retail investors, according to Kimco CFO Glenn Cohen in a GlobeSt. article. These 24-hour areas include New York metro, Dallas, Houston, Austin, regions throughout the Mid-Atlantic, southern Florida, and California’s coastal cities. Investors should be wary of underperforming markets, such as Las Vegas, Reno, New Mexico, and Arizona.

Reducing our environmental footprint

We continued to expand our corporate responsibility campaign in the second quarter. In California, Kimco is partnering with Pacific Gas & Electric to develop a program that reduces tenant energy usage in shopping centers. Our Westlake Shopping Center in Daly City, Calif., will be the pilot site, with an additional 130 properties utilizing the energy management system technology by the end of 2013.

The program was launched after we found that our tenants consume 85 percent of energy used in shopping centers. This program is especially unique as it develops a sustainability dialogue between the utility, the landlord, and tenants.

Bloomberg Businessweek’s Kyle Stock included Kimco in his roundup of companies that are reducing their carbon footprint, which also encompassed such corporate heavyweights as Walmart, Raytheon, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, and Staples. He highlighted our lighting control initiative, which will reduce our electricity bills by approximately 25 percent. That savings will enable us to pay off the lighting retrofit in just three years.

Will Teichman, Kimco’s Director of Sustainability, recently spoke on a panel organized by law firm Chadbourne & Parke LLP on how REITs are performing in the renewable energy market. Will discussed at length our rooftop solar panel system, which currently produces about three megawatts of electricity from the solar rooftops on a few of our shopping centers in New Jersey.

Will also spoke on a panel for NAREIT’s Leader in the Light Working Forum, where he shared Kimco’s participation in the GRESB program to promote sustainability throughout the commercial real estate sector.

That wraps up some of the biggest news highlights from the second quarter. We’ll be posting quarterly earnings highlights on our blog as well after we issue our release, so keep your eyes here.