03/12/2012 | by Carisa Chappell

Mall REIT Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG) will be added to the S&P 100 index at the close of trading on March 16, according to S&P Indices. S&P made the announcement on March 9 and said the mall REIT would replace Alcoa Inc. on the list.

It will mark the first time that a traditional equity REIT has been added to the S&P 100, which includes the largest stocks in the United States.

"We are delighted and honored to be the first REIT included in the S&P 100 Index," said David Simon, the company's chairman and chief executive officer. "I have no doubt that as the REIT industry continues to excel, other REITs will be included."

Barry Vinocur, editor of REIT Zone Publications LLC, noted that Simon has long been a "major player" in the REIT industry. He also pointed out that the company is roughly twice as large as the second-largest REIT, which is American Tower Corp. (NYSE: AMT), according to data from NAREIT.

Given Simon's size relative to the other companies in the industry, Vinocur said he doesn't expect that there will be another REIT added to the S&P 100 anytime soon.

"Eventually there will be other REITs included, but it's a long way off," he said. However, Vinocur said the fact that a traditional REIT is listed in the index is an important milestone for the industry.

"It's yet one more thing in an impressive string of things that demonstrates further that REITs are for real," Vinocur said. "Simon is the largest in the REIT index and is a top-flight company in every regard."

Simon announced on March 8 that the company plans to expand its international footprint by purchasing a minority stake in the Paris-based real estate company Klépierre for approximately $2 billion. On the same day, Simon announced that it is purchasing a $1.5 billion interest in 26 shopping malls in the United States, owned by venture partner Farallon Capital Management.

S&P also announced that timber REIT Weyerhaeuser Co. (NYSE: WY), which became a REIT in 2011, had been replaced on the S&P 100 by eBay Inc.