President and Chief Executive Officer at Regency Centers
Thank you. Christy. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us. Reflecting back on 2021, Regency accomplished a great deal over the course of the year and we have a lot to be proud of. With the disruption caused by the pandemic, it was a year of recovery, but the pace of our progress is a testament to the resiliency of retail properties like ours. As we sit here today, we feel really good about the financial health of our tenants. Our leasing activity is robust, our investment pipeline is full and our balance sheet is back to pre-pandemic strength. And of course this didn't just happen, we wouldn't be where we are without the tireless efforts of our people. So if you would please give me a moment to thank the Regency team. Thank you, team, it truly takes all of us.
So as we've transitioned into 2022 and look ahead, our story is no longer about recovery we move forward with a focus on growth and also with the benefit of hindsight from the last two years. While we do see lingering effects of the pandemic on our tenants specifically the impacts of inflation and labor shortages these headwinds have thus far not impacted demand for our space. This focus on growth did begin last year with regards to our capital allocation strategy, as we've discussed on prior calls. We pivoted to offense in 2021. We completed nearly $500 million of acquisitions last year on an accretive leverage-neutral basis. During the 4th quarter, we not only closed on the acquisition of our Turducken Lightening [Phonetic] shopping center, but we also announced the purchase of a [Indecipherable] property grocery-anchored, neighborhood centers portfolio on Long Island.
You've heard me say before, these types of investments are the bread and butter of what we do, what our company does. Our focus is to invest in strong, well-located, grocery-anchored shopping centers. Overall, the private transaction market for the centers, we want to own remains really strong. We continue to see cap rate compression and value appreciation and even steeper competition for deals. But despite this, our acquisition pipeline remains active. That's because our balance sheet and access to capital, give us a competitive advantage as does our reach given the boots on the ground in most of our target markets. Our Long Island portfolio acquisition was an off-market transaction. It was a group of family-owned assets. Kudos to our team in that market for sourcing this deal. We will continue to look for opportunities like these where the assets meet our criteria for location, quality, format, and growth.
We also announced recent dispositions and in that context, I want to spend a minute on our sales Costa Verde, since this was previously a part of our redevelopment pipeline. As most of you know, we have been really excited to undertake a mixed-use densification project there that featured retail at its core, we worked for years to entitled the asset, de leasing the property all in preparation for future redevelopment. But as time went on the project evolved into predominantly life science and the highest and best use was no longer a retail-centric asset. This change the nature of the project and the risk profile materially. We made the decision to sell it became clear to us that this was the best path to maximize value and manage our risk for the benefit of our shareholders. Importantly, we did get paid well for the value we created at that site and we immediately reinvested the proceeds. To be very clear, we don't see another Costa Verde in our portfolio. This asset was somewhat of a unicorn, but we do own really great real estate and there will be other opportunities to add non-retail uses or to densify our properties to the extent that makes sense. We will again pursue a similar path. This could mean partnering with experienced operators a ground lease or a sale, the non-retail component but always with the goal of extracting and entertaining control over the retail. As an example, we have our Westbard Square project currently underway in Bethesda, Maryland. The redevelopment of this shopping center essentially features of refresh of all the retail, including a new store for our already successful giant grocery anchor, but will also include the development of Senior Living and Apartment components on which we have partnered with others.
Before I turn it over to Jim. I'll conclude by saying that Regency emerged from 2020 a stronger company and we and our tenants, spent 2021 adapting to position ourselves for success in the new normal, and we've done just that. We recovered from the pandemic, we maintained and even raised our dividend and we are on our front foot today. This consistency that you've seen from us over the years, even through the toughest of times is evidence of the quality of our assets, our investment discipline, the strength of our balance sheet, and most importantly, our people. Jim.