HOUSTON, Dec. 29, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Whitestone REIT (NYSE:WSR) ("Whitestone") announced today the acquisitions of two Community Centered Properties™, Williams Trace Plaza and Shops at Williams Trace in Sugar Land, Texas. The acquisitions are Whitestone's first in the Houston market since the Company became publicly traded in 2010 and highlight Whitestone's transition from its diversified legacy properties in Houston to a retail concentrated portfolio.
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Williams Trace Plaza was purchased for $20.1 million and Shops at Williams Trace for $20.6 million, for a total acquisition price of $40.7 million. The acquisition is immediately accretive with current annual net operating income for the two properties of approximately $3.1 million, or 7.2% of the purchase price.
Both acquisitions have considerable value-add upside and are accretive to Funds from Operations ("FFO") per share, at the current combined occupancy of 91%, and are expected to contribute $0.10 per share to FFO in 2015. The acquisition was funded from Whitestone's new unsecured $500 million credit facility with nine major banks, which is currently priced at 1.86%.
- The Williams Trace Plaza acquisition totals 129,222 square feet of leasable space on approximately 15 acres. Occupancy of the center is currently 95%.
- The Shops at Williams Trace acquisition totals 132,991 square feet of leasable area on approximately 12 acres. Occupancy of the center is currently 87%.
The Williams Trace Shopping Centers, located along Texas State Highway 6 with a daily traffic count of over 50,000 cars, meet the needs of the growing Asian and young family population, whose household incomes average $115,000 per year in the surrounding 72,000 homes. The strong existing tenant mix reflects Whitestone's business model and include national as well as regional and local tenants. The centers, anchored by Randall's and 99 Ranch Market, include additional tenants such as Walgreens, Luby's Cafeteria, Los Tios Restaurant and Kumon Math and Reading who have contributed to the centers' consistently above 90% average historical occupancy.
The City of Sugar Land is a diverse community and regional employment center, a nationally acknowledged city for its safe environment, quality of life and public-private partnerships. The acquired centers are strategically located near high-profile corporations including Minute Maid, UnitedHealthcare, Texas Instruments, Schlumberger, Fluor Corporation, The University of Houston System at Sugarland, four leading healthcare facilities. The area has achieved its sustainable, strong local economy through an aggressive, focused economic development program that creates new wealth and jobs.
James C. Mastandrea, Whitestone's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "The two properties are our first major acquisitions in the Houston market and bring Whitestone's Houston footprint to over 2.6 million square feet of leasable space in 33 Community Centered Properties. What attracted us to Williams Trace Plaza and the Shops at Williams Trace is the highly complementary tenant mix and low historical tenant turnover, as well as the highly visible, prime location in Sugar Land, Texas. The community topped Money Magazine's selection of '15 small cities that offer great opportunity', with lower-than-average unemployment, positive historical job and population growth and strong projected future growth."
Mastandrea added, "The properties fit our Community Centered Property™ business model, a mixture of national and local tenants who serve the needs of the surrounding communities and provide economies of scale through our in-house management and leasing team because the Williams Trace Centers are in close proximity to our corporate headquarters and other Whitestone properties."
Mastandrea concluded, "These acquisitions exhibit all the facets of our value – add business model, are immediately accretive and present future revenue, NOI and FFO growth which will result in increased enterprise value for Whitestone."
About Whitestone REIT
Whitestone REIT (NYSE:WSR) is a fully integrated real estate investment trust ("REIT") that owns, manages, operates, leases and repositions and redevelops Value–Add 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 1,272 tenants comprised less than 1.8% of its annualized base rental revenues as of September 30, 2014. Founded in 1998, the Company is internally managed with a portfolio of 66 commercial properties in Texas, Arizona, and Illinois. For additional information about the Company, please visit www.whitestonereit.com.
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.
CONTACT: Whitestone REIT: Suzy Taylor, Director of Investor Relations (713) 435-2219 STaylor@WhitestoneREIT.com Bradford Johnson, Vice President of Acquisitions (713) 435-2208 BJohnson@WhitestoneREIT.com