Weingarten Realty Announces Great Progress with Portfolio Transformation

Business Wire

HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Weingarten Realty Investors (WRI), a leading owner, manager and developer of shopping centers, announced today significant progress in its portfolio transformation through numerous transactions.

Acquisition Activity

As previously reported, in the fourth quarter the Company acquired Mueller Regional Retail Center in Austin, Texas. Mueller is a 350,000 square foot power center anchored by Home Depot, Marshalls, Bed Bath & Beyond and PetSmart.

Additionally, the Company added to its investment at Queen Ann Marketplace in Seattle, Washington by purchasing the 15,034 square foot condominium interest for the Bartell Drugs store. This property is owned in a joint venture with Bouwinvest, where Weingarten owns 51%.

Acquisition activity for the fourth quarter and full year totaled $85.3 million and $174.6 million respectively.

Disposition Activity

During the fourth quarter, Weingarten sold three non-core properties and one land parcel for $38.6 million. The disposed properties include:

1. Northwest Crossing Shopping Center – Houston, Texas
2. Market Street Shopping Center – Houston, Texas
3. Lake Washington Square – Melbourne, Florida
4. An outparcel (pad site) in Orlando, Florida

For the full year 2013, Weingarten sold 33 properties, including three industrial buildings and six land parcels, comprising 3.9 million square feet for $278.3 million. Immediately subsequent to quarter end the Company sold an additional shopping center for $14.7 million, and has one other property that is expected to close shortly for $40.9 million.

Additional Transformation Activity

In addition to the ongoing acquisition and disposition activity described above, the Company completed two transactions with joint venture partners in the fourth quarter and an additional joint venture transaction in the first quarter of 2014. These transactions will have an immaterial impact on future earnings, but will simplify our financial structure, creating better balance sheet clarity.

First, the Company reported that it closed on a multi-property transaction with affiliates of Miller Real Estate Investments in Denver, Colorado, effectively completing the dissolution of this relationship. The Company reported that it received the remaining 50% interest in River Point at Sheridan (two consolidated joint ventures), cash, and a small building in Salt Lake City, Utah in exchange for the Company’s interest in two unconsolidated venture properties, Alpine Valley Center and 300 West, both in Salt Lake City. River Point is a 519,000 square foot power center anchored by Target and Costco who own their own facilities. The center is also anchored by Regal Cinema, Michaels and Tuesday Morning. This project includes 18.2 acres available for future development.

In the second transaction, the Company purchased control of both phases of a grocery anchored shopping center in Apple Valley, California (Jess Ranch Marketplace and Jess Ranch Phase III). The center totals over 502,000 square feet and is anchored by Winco Foods, who owns their own facility, Burlington Coat Factory, Cinemark Theaters, Bed Bath & Beyond, Ulta Salon, PetSmart and others.

In the first quarter of 2014, the Company completed the dissolution of its consolidated joint venture with the Hines Retail REIT (“Hines”), where the Company owned a 30% interest. The joint venture held a portfolio of 13 properties located in Texas (4), Tennessee (3), Georgia (3), Florida (2), and North Carolina (1). The transaction was completed through the distribution of five properties to the Company and eight properties to Hines. The Company now owns 100% of:

1. Mendenhall Commons – Memphis, Tennessee
2. Commons at Dexter Lake – Memphis, Tennessee
3. Commons at Dexter Lake Phase II – Memphis, Tennessee
4. Randall’s/Kings Crossing – Houston, Texas
5. Bellaire Boulevard – Houston, Texas

The transaction resulted in the disposition of its interest in:

1. Oak Park Village – San Antonio, Texas
2. Champions Village – Houston, Texas
3. University Palms – Oviedo, Florida
4. Shoppes at Parkland – Parkland, Florida
5. Sandy Plains Exchange – Marietta, Georgia
6. Cherokee Plaza – Atlanta, Georgia
7. Thompson Bridge Commons – Gainesville, Georgia
8. Heritage Station – Wake Forest, North Carolina

WRI will continue to lease and manage the eight properties owned by Hines.

All three of these transactions will not materially change the Company’s 2014 Funds from Operations (“FFO”), but clarifies and simplifies its balance sheet. The net impact of these transactions on debt as of September 30, 2013 is a decrease of $111.2 million on a consolidated basis and a $2.2 million increase on a prorata basis. The transactions also resulted in the repayment of $70.4 million in Notes Receivable from Real Estate Joint Ventures and Partnerships outstanding as of September 30, 2013.

These additional three transactions are not included in the reported quarterly and year-to-date amounts above, however if the Company would have “grossed up” acquisitions and dispositions for these transactions, it would have increased acquisitions and dispositions by approximately $126 million and $58 million, respectively.

Finally, WRI received notice from the holder of the ground leases at The Village Arcade (including the Village Arcade and Phases II and III) in Houston, Texas of their intent to exercise their purchase option under the ground lease. This transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2014.

“As we reported at our Investor Day in New York City on December 10, we are excited about the results of our transformed portfolio. The acquisitions are great additions to our quality portfolio and the dispositions continue to provide the capital for our recycling efforts. We continue to simplify our story and improve the transparency of our balance sheet,” said Drew Alexander, President and Chief Executive Officer. He added, “Along with the recently announced lease with LA Fitness in our Brookwood shopping center in Atlanta, which was our single largest vacancy in the portfolio, our operations continue to produce solid results. Given the momentum from the LA Fitness lease, the Company’s occupancy improved over third quarter to 94.8% as of the end of the year. As we move forward with the transformation, we are optimistic of further increases in occupancy, FFO and NAV.”

About Weingarten Realty Investors

Weingarten Realty Investors (WRI) is a shopping center owner, manager and developer. At September 30, 2013, the Company owned or operated under long-term leases, either directly or through its interest in real estate joint ventures or partnerships, a total of 273 properties which are located in 21 states spanning the country from coast to coast. These properties represent approximately 50.4 million square feet of which our interests in these properties aggregated approximately 30.1 million square feet of leasable area. To learn more about the Company’s operations and growth strategies, please visit www.weingarten.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

In addition to historical information, this press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about the industry and markets in which Weingarten operates, management's beliefs, and assumptions made by management. It is important to note that Weingarten's actual results could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties which are difficult to predict. Reference is made to Weingarten's regulatory filings with the SEC for information or factors that may impact Weingarten's performance.

Contact:
Weingarten Realty Investors
Michelle Wiggs, (713) 866-6050

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