Whitestone REIT was formed as a real estate investment trust, pursuant to the Texas Real Estate Investment Trust Act on August 20, 1998. The Company serves as the general partner of Whitestone REIT Operating Partnership, L.P. The Company is engaged in owning and operating commercial properties in culturally diverse markets in metropolitan areas. The Company is internally managed and, as of December 31, 2013, it owned a real estate portfolio of 60 properties containing approximately 5.0 million square feet of gross leasable area, located in Texas, Arizona and Illinois. The Company is the sole general partner of the Operating Partnership. As of December 31, the Company owned and operated 60 properties, including retail, warehouse and office properties in and around Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Chicago and Phoenix. The Company competes with owners, developers and operators, including, but not limited to, real estate investors, other REITs, insurance companies and pension funds. Under various federal and state environmental laws and regulations, as an owner or operator of real estate, the Company may be required to investigate and clean up certain hazardous or toxic substances, asbestos-containing materials, or petroleum product releases at its properties. The Company may also be held liable to a governmental entity or to third parties for property damage and for investigation and cleanup costs incurred by those parties in connection with any such contamination. The Company's properties are subject to various federal, state and local laws, ordinances and regulations.