Whitestone REIT Reports 87% Occupancy in Operating Portfolio1
Whitestone REIT (NYSE:WSR – “Whitestone”), a real estate investment trust that acquires, owns and operates Community Centered PropertiesTM, today reported occupancy and leasing highlights for the third quarter ended September 30, 2012. The physical occupancy of its Operating Portfolio1 was 87% as of September 30, 2012, reflecting a 1% increase over the year-ago third quarter ended September 30, 2011 and unchanged from the prior quarter ended June 30, 2012. The Company's total occupancy was 85% as of the end of the current quarter, a 1% increase over the year-ago quarter ended September 30, 2011.
Whitestone's leasing team signed 63 leases totaling 143,922 square feet (“sf”) in new and renewal leases during the third quarter, and added 39 new tenants to its roster of primarily small entrepreneurial retail service business tenants. Whitestone currently has over 1,050 total tenants, an increase of 26% since June 30, 2011, of which 71% lease space that is less than 3,000 sf, provide retail services as opposed to goods to the surrounding community, and are located in multi-cultural neighborhoods.
“We are pleased with our progress with the addition of new small space service oriented tenants, as we continue to build on our business plan and add value for our shareholders through acquiring, owning and operating Community Centered Properties. Our value-add approach to increase net asset value (NAV) per share includes lease-up and repositioning of our Centers to increase revenues, and expanding our lease capacity by increasing new lease space in existing facilities, reducing our expenses, realigning economies of scale from our vertical infrastructure, and initiating development projects on land acquired along with new acquisitions and existing land owned,” said James C. Mastandrea, Whitestone's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “During the third quarter we achieved a milestone in diversifying our portfolio beyond Texas and Illinois: we now own over one million square feet of lease space in the Greater Phoenix market, including the two most recent value-add acquisitions completed during the third quarter, both of which were purchased at a significant discount to replacement value in off-market transactions.”
Whitestone's Community Centered Property business model is focused on leasing smaller spaces (less than 3,000 sf) to entrepreneurial small business owners who provide retail services to their surrounding neighborhood. The following leases completed during the quarter are provided as examples to illustrate the types of tenants and the tenant mix that Drives Traffic, Driving ValueTM to Whitestone's Community Centers:
The Citadel – Scottsdale: Healthy Smiles Dentistry signed a new 2,486 sf lease in this zen-like boutique Community Center in the North Scottsdale market, where two new restaurants plan to celebrate grand openings during the fourth quarter 2012: BiCE Ristaurante and Emily's Café.
Desert Canyon – Scottsdale: Five new and renewal small office space leases totaling 1,302 sf were signed in this Community Center targeting the surrounding young family demographic. The spaces range from 176 sf to 380 sf, and include new leases for a wealth management firm and a photographer.
Gilbert Tuscany – Gilbert: Four new and expansion leases were signed totaling 9,564 sf in this family-themed Community Center in the growing Phoenix East Valley market. Three new tenants signed during the quarter include Actors Youth Theater, State Farm Insurance and C'ZON's Gift Shop.
Kempwood Plaza – Houston: Three new and renewal leases were signed in this Hispanic-themed Center, totaling 8,396 sf, including a new 2,000 sf lease for a sporting goods retailer.
Westbelt Plaza – Houston: Three new leases totaling 5,408 sf were signed in this West Houston business Center, ranging from 1,436 sf to 2,002 sf. New tenants include an oilfield services firm and an educational services provider.
Corporate Park Northwest – Houston: Seven new and expansion leases totaling 11,274 sf were signed in this entrepreneurial small business incubator themed Community Center, including over 9,000 sf of new leases. All were for small spaces ranging from 720 sf to 2,796 sf for service-oriented tenants.
Torrey Square – Houston: Two new leases were signed in this Hispanic-themed Center, including a new 25,632 sf lease for a national credit family apparel and home goods retailer that is replacing a dollar store retailer, and a new 960 sf lease for an HerbaLife distributor.
About Whitestone REIT
Whitestone REIT (NYSE: WSR) is a fully integrated real estate company that owns, operates and re-develops Community Centered PropertiesTM, which are visibly located properties in established or developing culturally diverse neighborhoods. Whitestone focuses on value-creation in its Centers as it markets, leases and manages its Centers to match tenants with the shared needs of surrounding neighborhoods. Operations are structured for providing cost-effective service to local service-oriented smaller space tenants (less than 3,000 sf). Whitestone has a diverse tenant base concentrated on service offerings such as medical, education, and casual dining. The largest of its over 1,050 tenants comprises less than 2% of its rental revenues. Headquartered in Houston, Texas and founded in 1998, the Company is internally managed with a portfolio of commercial Centers in Texas, Arizona and Illinois. Whitestone's portfolio at the time it completed its Initial Public Offering (“IPO”) in August 2010 was comprised of 36 Community Centers including one in Arizona, one in Illinois, and 34 in Texas. One property, Greens Road in Houston, has been sold since the IPO (April 2012). Whitestone currently owns 51 Community Centers, including three development sites: 14 in Arizona, one in Illinois, and 36 in Texas. For additional information about the Company, please visit www.whitestonereit.com. The investor section of the Company's website has links to SEC filings, news releases, financial reports and investor newsletters.
1Operating Portfolio – excludes new acquisitions through the earlier of (1) attainment of 90% occupancy or 18 months of ownership and (2) properties which are undergoing significant redevelopment or re-tenanting.
Statements included herein that state the Company's or management's intentions, hopes, beliefs, expectations or predictions of the future are “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which by their nature, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. The Company's actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements. Reference is made to the Company's regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for information or factors that may impact the Company's performance.
Anne Gregory, (713) 435 2221
Vice President Marketing & Investor Relations