If you can't build it, buy it.
That's the secret two shopping center development companies -- Regency Centers Corp. and GMS Realty LLC -- are using to gain entry into the restrictive but coveted Puget Sound retail market.
Retail developers thrive on major metropolitan cities like Denver and Phoenix. With land as flat and as expansive as pita bread, they have the opportunity to build and build and build.
In Seattle, however, where mountains surround water like a crown, commercial development poses a bit more of a quandary.
Despite the geographical challenges of development retailers and retail center developers continue to find the Puget Sound region's high-wealth and high-growth demographics appealing.
"Seattle is a high-growth area and high on the list for most buyers. It is consistently rated in the top 10, sometimes in the top five in the market, as one of best places in the country to develop," said Richard Muhlebach of Kennedy Wilson Properties of Washington NW. "But few (new) developable opportunities exist here because of geographical restraints."
There are three primary components needed for large retail development: good access, good visibility and a good chunk of land, according to …