General Development of Business. Weingarten Realty Investors is a real estate investment trust ("REIT") organized under the Texas Business Organizations Code. We, and our predecessor entity, began the ownership of shopping centers and other commercial real estate in 1948. Our primary business is leasing space to tenants in the shopping centers we own or lease. We also provide property management services for which we charge fees to either joint ventures where we are partners or other outside owners.
Narrative Description of Business. We are in the business of owning, managing and developing retail shopping centers. At December 31, 2018, we owned or operated under long-term leases, either directly or through our interest in real estate joint ventures or partnerships, a total of 178 properties, which are located in 17 states spanning the country from coast to coast. The portfolio of properties contains approximately 35.1 million square feet of gross leasable area that is either owned by us or others. We also owned interests in 24 parcels of land held for development that totaled approximately 14.0 million square feet.
Investment and Operating Strategy. Our goal is to remain a leader in owning and operating top-tier neighborhood and community shopping centers in certain markets of the United States ("U.S."). We expect to achieve this goal by: