Occupancy to Increase to 94% at Whitestone REIT’s Newly Redeveloped Lion Square Center With Signing of New Tenant; Annual NOI of Property Projected to Increase by Over 22%

HOUSTON, Oct. 19, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Whitestone REIT (NYSE:WSR) (“Whitestone” or “the Company”) today announced that it has signed a lease with Sam’s Spa Nail Supply for 12,260 square feet at its Lion Square community centered property, which is located in the heart of Houston’s Asian district. Whitestone recently completed a value-add redevelopment and conversion program at Lion Square and this lease, which is for the remaining portion of a once-empty grocery store space, brings the transformative project to a highly successful conclusion. As part of its redevelopment efforts, the Company divided the approximately 42,200 square feet of empty space (36% of the center’s total square footage) into three spaces, which have now been leased. The addition of Sam’s Spa Nail Supply will increase occupancy at Lion Square to 94% from 83%, while increasing the center’s net operating income by over 22%.

Sam’s Spa Nail Supply, which has been in business for over ten years, maintains five locations in Dallas and is looking to expand into the Houston market. Sam’s Spa Nail Supply will join other consumer-centric tenants at Lion Square, such as Family Dollar, Teletron (electronics store), Crown Seafood and Ten Yen Tea and Herbs.

Lion Square is ideally located in Houston’s Asian district in close proximity to Hong-Kong City Mall, Viet Hoa Food Market, Sun’s Wholesale Club and other top Asian destinations. Lion Square benefits from an estimated 250,000 daytime employees that work for employers in the area, as well as from Houston’s large (over 400,000) Asian population. Whitestone redeveloped Lion Square to include new architectural and landscaping features that transformed its dated and nondescript design to one influenced by Asian architecture, with features to enhance the internationally focused culture of the property. With the guidance of a renowned feng shui consultant, the Company repositioned Lion Square to promote the “flow of energy” and attract business to the center. Today, Lion Square is a vibrant community centered property whose complementary mix of tenants meet the daily needs of Houston’s Asian community.

“With just a modest investment, Whitestone successfully transformed Lion Square, a 117,600 square foot center with a vacant 42,200 square foot grocery store anchor, to a thriving Asian community centered property,” stated Jim Mastandrea, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “The redevelopment capitalized on the center’s premier location in the heart of the Asian community and helped us unlock the significant potential and value of this legacy property. Consistent with our value-add business model, we will continue to pursue other redevelopment and repositioning opportunities within our portfolio to increase occupancy and to drive top line and bottom line growth.”

Mr. Mastandrea concluded, “We are excited to welcome Sam’s Spa Nail Supply to Lion Square. Their expansion into our center demonstrates a key aspect of our business model, which is to help our tenants profitably grow. We look forward to partnering with them to build a highly successful business.”

About Whitestone REIT

Whitestone REIT (NYSE:WSR) is a fully integrated real estate investment trust ("REIT") that owns, redevelops, repositions, leases, manages and operates Community Centered PropertiesTM. Whitestone focuses on value creation in its community centers, concentrating on local service-oriented tenants. Whitestone's diversified tenant base provides service offerings including specialty retail, grocery, restaurants, medical, educational and financial services. Founded in 1998, the Company is internally managed with a portfolio of 70 commercial properties in Texas, Arizona and Illinois. For additional information about the Company, please visit www.whitestonereit.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

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.

Bob Aronson Director of Investor Relations D: (713) 435-2219; M: 832-364-8314 raronson@whitestonereit.com

Source:Whitestone REIT