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American Assets Trust Buys Assets

Zacks Equity Research

American Assets Trust, Inc. (AAT), a real estate investment trust (:REIT), has recently completed the purchase of a 27-storied office tower named City Center Bellevue l in Bellevue, Washington. The  environment-friendly green building consists of approximately 497,000 square feet of office space  The $229 million transaction was funded partly by the company's cash in hand and partly by funds drawn against its existing credit facility.

The acquisition is a strategic move by American Assets Trust to foray into the attractive Bellevue-Seattle market. City Center Bellevue is an upscale property located in Bellevue's Central Business District with access to the freeway and public transport. The office tower is approximately 92% leased with unparalleled views of the Seattle skyline, in addition to Mount Rainier, Lake Washington, the Cascade and Olympic Mountains.

Earlier in the second quarter of 2012, American Assets Trust signed 32 leases for approximately 205,500 square feet of retail and office space, along with 302 multifamily apartment leases.

Headquartered in San Diego, California, American Assets Trust is engaged in the acquisition, development and management of premier retail, office and residential properties throughout the United States. At present the company’s retail portfolio consists of approximately 3.0 million rentable square feet and its office portfolio, of some 2.8 million square feet. The company acquires properties in strong markets with high barriers to entry which witness a high influx of tourists all year round.

American Assets Trust currently retains a Zacks #1 Rank, which translates into a short-term Strong Buy rating. We also have a long-term Outperform recommendation on the stock. One of its competitors, Simon Property Group Inc (SPG) holds a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short term Buy rating.

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