In a sign of the strong market for grocery-anchored retail properties, Boston-based Heritage Property Investment Trust pulled off a successful IPO this week — the first real estate company to do so since 1998.

Heritage, which owns 142 shopping centers in 26 states, began trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol HTG. In the first two days of trading, Heritage’s stock price reached a high of $25.03 and hasn’t fallen below its initial offering price of $25 per share.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the initial offering of 18 million shares netted Heritage about $310 million for roughly 44% of the company. That money will be used to pay back a loan from Fleet National Bank and to pay off unsecured debt. Prudential Financial Inc. owns a 12% stake in Heritage following the IPO.

Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc. was the IPO’s main underwriter along with seven investment banks.