As the retail and commercial real estate professionals embark on the industry’s largest convention, ICSC RECon, Weingarten Realty evaluates the industry’s trends influencing our business model. During the recession, we saw the dissolution of big box retailers like Circuit City and Linen N Things and therefore, our focus at RECon was historically big box vacancy. More recently, our focus is small shop leasing highlighted by our ShopCentric program. We are proud to announce our big box occupancy is an outstanding 98% and our overall occupancy is 94.5%. At RECon this year, our attention is focused on growth opportunities in our target markets including redevelopments, new developments and acquisitions.
Weingarten is adding value to our existing portfolio through redevelopments. We define a redevelopment as a location where we are adding square footage, either through new construction or expansion of an existing space. Currently, there are nine active projects and another 14 projects we expect to kick off over the next year or so. We find redevelopments advantageous as the risk associated with the investment is generally minimal.
Notable active redevelopment projects include new construction at Decatur 215 in Las Vegas, NV; Brookwood Square Shopping Center in Austell, GA; and River Point at Sheridan in Colorado. In Las Vegas, we are building an additional 54K sf anchor, two 8,000 sf floater buildings, and two 3,000 sf restaurant/fast food pads. At Brookwood Square Shopping Center, a former Home Depot was demised to add a new 45k sf LA Fitness with an additional 14,000 sf shop space. Our former development project in Sheridan is undergoing additional construction after opening six years ago. A 42,000 sf box for Conn’s is being constructed, as well as two multi-tenant pad buildings totaling 8,600 SF.
In the challenging world of new development, we have several projects under construction and are looking forward to new opportunities as the economy continues to improve. Weingarten’s Hilltop Village Center in Alexandria, VA, continues to progress nicely, with Wegmans scheduled to open early in 2015. Additionally in the Washington DC area, we are embarking on the preliminary planning at the Walter Reed development with our partners Hines and Urban Atlantic. In a recent Seattle city council vote, the entitlements were completed for the Whole Foods anchored Whittaker development. Pending no appeals, we look forward to beginning construction on this mixed-use, urban project.
Similar to new developments, acquisitions have also proved challenging with cap rates falling and increasing competition. Due to the current industry standard, we have adjusted our acquisitions criteria to include the potential opportunity of redevelopment on new acquisitions. Several of our recent acquisitions were bought with the intent of increasing the NAV with redevelopment plans. Independence Plaza in Laredo, TX is currently undergoing a redevelopment with an additional 12,100 sf building to include Rack Room Shoes and Oshkosh/ Carters. Promenade 23 in Seattle and Pike Center in Rockville, MD were both acquired with the intent of future redevelopments.
In conclusion, we look forward to seeing what future growth opportunities RECon will reveal. Please stop by our booth, S250 Q Street, to discuss potential projects. We can’t wait to see you in Las Vegas.