Latin America -- and Mexico in particular -- have been on Kimco's radar for many years as opportunistic retail markets. We believe Mexico is an attractive investment choice due to its rapidly growing consumer base, its undersupply of shopping centers, and the aggressive expansion of many global retailers into the market.

Over the past few years, Kimco has built a portfolio of 55 shopping centers in Mexico, primarily anchored by grocers -- such as Walmart, H-E-B, Chedraui, and Soriana -- as well as Home Depot and leading cinema operators Cinépolis and Cinemex. Our strategy has largely been to develop new centers in partnership with leading local developers and retailers, and we're looking to continue to expand our footprint in ways that provide value to the communities and our shareholders.

Two of the most attractive centers in our Mexican portfolio are Galerias Rio Sonora and Ciudadela. They are modern, state-of-the-art shopping centers built in contemporary architecture and located in the high-growth markets of Hermosillo and Guadalajara, respectively.

We are very pleased to announce that the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) recently awarded both Galerias Rio Sonora and Ciudadela 2012 ICSC Latin American Shopping Center Awards. ICSC's Latin American Shopping Center Awards are the premiere awards competition within the region's shopping center industry.

ICSC recognized Galerias Rio Sonora and Ciudadela with silver awards in its Design and Development category, an honor given to retail complexes on the merits of their overall design, and the creativity and innovation displayed in their development or redevelopment. You can take a look at Galerias Rio Sonora and Ciudadela's design and architecture in these photos:

Galerias Rio Sonora is located in Hermosillo, the capital of the northwestern state of Sonora. Kimco built the 584,000-square-foot center in partnership with Link Arquitectura, a local developer. Our goal was to create a modern shopping center to serve customers who previously had to travel north to Arizona for many of their shopping and entertainment needs. We designed the architecture to match.

Galerias Rio Sonora features a contemporary design with a white palette that contrasts appealingly with the surrounding desert landscape. The ICSC noted this in its Latin American Shopping Center Award winners' brochure, saying, "The architectural design of the center, the contemporary forms and white colors offer contrast to the arid scenery of Hermosillo desert." The exterior of the center is landscaped with indigenous plants to create further harmony with the site.

There is also an abundance of natural light at Galerias Rio Sonora, which coordinates with attractive lighted ceiling designs and helps achieve efficient daytime lighting. Many storefronts and interior finishes are clear, highlighting tenants' merchandise and interior vegetation, while also promoting a soft and cozy environment for shoppers.

Galerias Rio Sonora serves the local population of more than 616,000 people within the five miles surrounding the center. Its tenant mix includes Cinépolis and Sears, which the ICSC also noted in its winners' brochure: "The mix of entertainment, shops, and services ensures high traffic flows, and has positioned GMS [Galerias Mall Sonora] as a major attraction."

Ciudadela is also located in western Mexico. It's situated in Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco and the country's second largest city. Kimco developed the property with local firm SSC Inmobiliaria. In its winners' brochure, the ICSC described this 723,000-square-foot property as one of the region's "most modern shopping centers," offering "one of the best shopping excursions in the state of Jalisco."

Ciudadela's design concept combines an appealing mix of open and closed spaces throughout two levels. The outdoor store fronts are covered by pergolas, which create partially shaded walkways. The modern corridors and gardens create a contemporary visual impact and provide the feeling of recreation and relaxation.

The center offers its patrons access to a 14-screen Cinépolis; fitness center; many dining options; and major retailers, such as Walmart, Best Buy, and The Home Store. Situated in an affluent, high-traffic area, Ciudadela serves more than 1.6 million people within five miles.

Thank you to the ICSC for recognizing Kimco's properties!

Have you been to Galerias Rio Sonora or Ciudadela? What do you think of their architecture and design?

  • CATEGORY: General
  • DATE: Monday, April 2, 2012