What was Federal Realty thinking?We dont know, because theyve declined to comment. But its hard to fathom what rationale could have been behind Federal Realtys decision to kick Somerhill Gallery out of Eastgate Shopping Center. Joe Rowands gallery was as established and respected as a business can be. Somerhill has been at Eastgate for 18 years. All that time -- through good times and lean ones, through construction and floods, while other businesses came and went -- it has not only drawn traffic but given a welcome touch of art and culture to what is, well, a shopping center.When Rowand moved in, the space was, he said, Òa dump.Ó It was a former dime store that had been vacant for more than a decade. He transformed it into a gorgeous two-story gallery alive with paintings, photographs, sculptures, glasswork, textiles and more by some of the Southeasts best artists. Somerhill is not one of those chilly, austere art galleries. The place has always been packed with stuff; beautiful and surprising pieces are tucked into every nook and cranny. Rowand said he complained when Federal Realty, as part of recent renovations to the shopping center, tore down the gallerys familiar latticed-steel storefront and sign -- destroying a structure he said had cost him $100,000 -- and proposed replacing it with a simple awning and six lights. A week after he sent his note, he said, he received a terse letter informing him that his lease was being terminated. He has until the end of this month to leave.As we mentioned, Federal Realtys not talking, so we dont know its side of the story. Its Federal Realtys shopping center, and it can fill the storefronts with the tenants it chooses. But short of some sort of truly serious conflict, its hard to understand giving such a successful longtime tenant such an abrupt and ignominious boot.Its Chapel Hills loss. Rowand already has found what sounds like a beautiful new space and is moving rapidly to renovate it so he can reopen Somerhill -- in Durham.