HOUSTON, Aug. 18, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Whitestone REIT (NYSE:WSR) ("Whitestone"), a fully integrated real estate company that owns, operates and re-develops Community Centered Properties™, today announced leasing progress and occupancy increases at its Fountain Square property located in northern Phoenix, Arizona.
Whitestone REIT purchased Fountain Square in 2012 out of foreclosure for $130 per square foot, and repositioned and redeveloped the 118,000 square foot Safeway "shadow anchored" Community Centered Property™. Whitestone has increased the occupancy of the center adding Sumits Yoga, Inspiration Martial Arts, Jimmy John's, Planet Fitness and Avalon School of Cosmetology. With the addition of these new tenants, Whitestone has optimized the tenant mix of service, health and wellness, education, family dining, and grocery, blending the above with existing tenants U.S. Bank, Hi-Health, UPS and Kumon Math & Reading.
In 2013, Fountain Square was repositioned to better meet the needs of the surrounding Moon Valley neighborhood and redeveloped to highlight the beauty of the architecturally distinctive property and improve traffic flow. In a high retail concentration area at East Bell Road and 7th Street, Fountain Square is accessible to 67,000 vehicles daily and serves as the convenient destination for the immediate 320,000 population. With a retail expenditure of over $2.3 billion in a five-mile radius, the high-density area surrounding Fountain Square confirms Whitestone's value-add business model.
Whitestone now owns nearly two million square feet of leasable space in the greater Phoenix area in 17 Community Centered Properties™, including Fountain Square. Other centers include Ahwatukee Plaza, Anthem Marketplace, Dana Park at Village Square, Desert Canyon, Gilbert Tuscany Village, Market Place at Central, Market Street at DC Ranch, Mercado at Scottsdale Ranch, Fountain Hills Plaza, Paradise Plaza, Pima Norte, The Citadel, The Pinnacle of Scottsdale, Sunset at Pinnacle Peak, The Shops at Pecos Ranch and Terravita Marketplace. All of the listed Community Centered Properties™ are in stabilized neighborhoods with strong demographics and provide essential services to support local communities.
Whitestone's Chairman and CEO, James C. Mastandrea, said, "When we purchased Fountain Square in 2012 for $15.4 million in an off-market acquisition, the property was financially distressed, under managed, and suffered occupancy to competing centers in the neighborhood." Mastandrea added, "Our market research confirmed this value add opportunity, and our strategy to design an optimal tenant mix to meet the needs and desires of the surrounding community was vital to our success." Mastandrea concluded, "As we continue to redevelop and reposition multiple properties in our growing portfolio, we expect our occupancies, revenues, net operating income and funds from operations to increase along with our enterprise value per share. By focusing on investing in value-add, cash-flowing properties, our unique business model gives us a competitive advantage as we purchase and re-tenant additional Community Centered Properties™."
About Whitestone REIT
Whitestone REIT (NYSE:WSR) is a fully integrated real estate investment trust ("REIT") that owns, operates and redevelops Community Centered Properties™. Whitestone focuses on value creation in its community centers, concentrating on local service-oriented tenants that comprise approximately 70% of its tenants. Whitestone's diversified tenant base provides service offerings including medical, education, casual dining, and convenience services. The largest of its 1,232 tenants comprised less than 1.9% of its annualized base rental revenues as of June 30, 2014. Founded in 1998, the Company is internally managed with a portfolio of 61 commercial properties in Texas, Arizona, and Illinois. For additional information about the Company, please visit www.whitestonereit.com.