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Edited Transcript of BRX earnings conference call or presentation 29-Oct-19 2:00pm GMT

Q3 2019 Brixmor Property Group Inc Earnings Call

New York Nov 14, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Brixmor Property Group Inc earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 2:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Angela M. Aman

Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer

* Brian T. Finnegan

Brixmor Property Group Inc. - EVP of Leasing

* James M. Taylor

Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director

* Mark T. Horgan

Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP & CIO

* Stacy Slater

Brixmor Property Group Inc. - SVP of IR & Capital Markets

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Conference Call Participants

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* Alexander David Goldfarb

Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research & Senior REIT Analyst

* Caitlin Burrows

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst

* Christine Mary McElroy Tulloch

Citigroup Inc, Research Division - Director & Senior Analyst

* Floris Gerbrand Hendrik van Dijkum

Compass Point Research & Trading, LLC - Analyst

* Greg Michael McGinniss

Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst

* Haendel Emmanuel St. Juste

Mizuho Securities USA LLC, Research Division - MD of Americas Research & Senior Equity Research Analyst

* Ki Bin Kim

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD

* Michael William Mueller

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst

* Robert Jeremy Metz

BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Director & Analyst

* Samir Upadhyay Khanal

Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - MD & Equity Research Analyst

* Shivani A. Sood

Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Associate

* Todd Michael Thomas

KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Research Analyst

* Vince Tibone

Green Street Advisors, Inc. - Analyst of Retail

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Greetings and welcome to the Brixmor Property Group Third Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Ms. Stacy Slater. You may begin.

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Stacy Slater, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - SVP of IR & Capital Markets [2]

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Thank you, operator, and thank you all for joining Brixmor's third quarter conference call. With me on the call today are Jim Taylor, Chief Executive Officer and President; and Angela Aman, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; as well as Mark Horgan, Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer; and Brian Finnegan, Executive Vice President, Leasing, who will be available for Q&A.

Before we begin, let me remind everyone that some of our comments today may contain forward-looking statements that are based on certain assumptions and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties as described in our SEC filings, and our actual future results may differ materially. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

Also, we will refer today to certain non-GAAP financial measures. Further information regarding our use of these measures and reconciliations of these measures to our GAAP results are available in the earnings release and supplemental disclosure on the Investor Relations portion of our website. (Operator Instructions) At this time, it's my pleasure to introduce Jim Taylor.

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [3]

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Thank you, Stacy, and thanks to everyone for joining our call. This quarter, Brixmor delivered on time and as promised. Our results are truly outstanding top to bottom, not just for the headline reported same-property NOI of 4.4% or the FFO per share of $0.49 but for what those numbers affirm, including: the unique strength of our business plan that capitalizes on opportunities embedded in what we own and control drives higher rents and stronger margins and provides visibility on several years of growth; the sector-leading demand from today's relevant tenants to be in our well-located shopping centers at those higher rents; the intrinsic value delivered versus merely promised through reinvestment that drives attractive ROI and moves us towards our purpose of owning centers that are the center of the communities we serve; the strength of our balance sheet, internally generated cash flows and self-funded strategy that allow us to execute our plan for the next several years without having to access the capital markets; and most importantly, the performance and commitment of our best-in-class leasing, operations, redevelopment, construction, accounting, finance, legal and HR teams that have executed not just this quarter but each and every one since we began a little over 3 years ago.

Let's dig into the results. Our national accounts and regional teams partnered this quarter to deliver over 2.3 million feet (sic - square feet) of new and renewal leases at cash-on-cash spreads of 13%, including nearly 1 million feet (sic - square feet) of new leases at comparable cash spreads of over 30%.

Overall leased occupancy grew 40 basis points sequentially to 91.9%, and importantly, we drove a 30 basis point increase in small shop occupancy sequentially. We commenced over $18 million in new ABR this quarter, bringing down the gap between billed and leased to 330 basis points from 400 basis points last quarter.

However, while the operations team is doing a phenomenal job getting tenants in and rents commenced, the leasing teams haven't slowed a bit as these signed but not commenced rents continue to get backfilled. In fact, those signed but not commenced rents are once again approaching $50 million in ABR, and our current leases in the pipeline to be executed comprise an additional $42 million in ABR. These executed leases and leases in our pipeline provide us great visibility on future growth.

Once again this quarter, we maintained discipline with capital as net effective rents held firm and our intrinsic lease terms held steady with average duration of 9 years and embedded rent bumps of 2%. As we've discussed in the past, those embedded rent bumps are our cheapest form of growth and build upon our overall portfolio average. Our redevelopment and construction teams partnered this quarter to deliver another $68 million of reinvestment projects and an 11% incremental return.

If I may pause on that, you'd have to deliver over $250 million of ground-up development this quarter, which typically yields 6% to 7% and which involves much higher execution and leasing risk, to create the same amount of value that we created this quarter. That's why I love what we're executing upon at Brixmor, profitably making our assets better and more relevant to the communities they serve. As I mentioned last quarter, the improvements at the asset level are palpable, not only driving increases in ROI and intrinsic value, they're driving small shop momentum and future ROI growth.

Reinvestment projects completed this quarter include the first phase of Mira Mesa, which was delivered a quarter ahead of schedule, where we remerchandised a former Kohl's with Sprouts, Five Below, Michael's and BevMo! If you find yourself in San Diego, we'd love for you to see how we transformed the tired power center into the center of this very dense community. What's also very cool is that we're not done creating value at Mira Mesa as this initial phase sets up opportunities for additional future density from pad sites to potential residential.

We also keep driving the velocity of our reinvestment pipeline, adding 12 projects to the active pipeline this quarter. We now have $414 million of projects underway at an incremental return of 9%. I'm truly proud of our regional owners identifying and executing upon these opportunities that drive both our ROI and our purpose.

Our investment team continued to capitalize on liquidity for noncore assets, completing the sale of 13 assets for total proceeds of $151 million, bringing our year-to-date total to just under $250 million. In the quarter, we exited another 4 single asset markets.

A meaningful part of the benefit you see in our operating numbers is being driven by this clustering of our investments in our core markets. In fact, a powerful statistic regarding the benefit of this focus is that we continue to achieve leasing volumes at the top of our historical range of 2 million to 2.5 million feet (sic - square feet) per quarter with nearly 100 fewer shopping centers. As communicated on prior calls, we do expect to be more balanced in the coming quarters with potential acquisitions identified in a number of our target markets.

As always, we are focused on those opportunities where we can leverage the unique strengths of our leading platform to drive growth in ROI versus simply putting capital to work or chasing statistics. So we will remain disciplined.

Finally, we continue to strengthen our balance sheet opportunistically issuing $350 million of 10-year notes at a record tight spread for us and an effective yield of 3.3%. We now have no debt maturities until 2022 and a very well-laddered maturity profile after that, simply outstanding execution by our finance team.

In summary, I couldn't be prouder of how the overall team has delivered on our all-weather plan to drive sustainable growth and value creation from our portfolio of well-located shopping centers. This very same execution, which shows in all facets of our plan, including our rent signed but not commenced, the robustness of our forward leasing pipeline, the growing reinvestment pipeline and our accelerating small shop momentum provide us unparalleled visibility and confidence on continuing to deliver even with the inevitable disruptions that occur in retail from year to year and cycle to cycle.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Angela for a more detailed discussion of our financial results and outlook. Angela?

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Angela M. Aman, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [4]

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Thanks, Jim, and good morning. I'm pleased to report another strong quarter of execution as the success of the portfolio transformation we began in 2016 becomes fully evident in our financial and operational metrics.

FFO in the third quarter was $0.49 per share, reflecting an acceleration in same-property NOI growth to 4.4%. Same-property NOI growth was driven by positive contributions across every line item. Most notably, the contribution from base rent was 290 basis points, representing a sequential acceleration of 120 basis points due to strong rent spreads over the last year as well as significant rent commencements during the quarter, which increased billed occupancy by 110 basis points since Q2.

In addition to the significant contribution from base rents, net recoveries contributed 70 basis points to growth, while ancillary and other income and bad debt expense both contributed 30 basis points and percentage rent contributed 20 basis points.

With the contribution from net -- while the contribution from net recoveries is partially a reflection of the timing of OpEx spend, it also reflects the capital investments we've made in the portfolio over the last few years, which are driving margin improvements.

We have increased our 2019 same-property NOI growth guidance to 3% to 3.25% and our 2019 FFO guidance to $1.90 to $1.93 per share. As we have discussed with you throughout the year, the historically high amount of revenue embedded in leases signed but not yet commenced has meant that the timing of rent commencement dates has been both a risk and an opportunity to calendar year growth in 2019.

As I believe this quarter clearly demonstrates, we're not only hitting our scheduled rent commencement dates, but we are also finding opportunities to accelerate those dates and get tenants open and operating sooner than expected through the combined efforts of the entire platform.

Our results validate the significant opportunity we saw in 2016 to capitalize on [our] below-market rent basis and to transform the portfolio through accretive reinvestment. Importantly, our results also underscore that the enhancements we have made to our operating platform have positioned us to fully capitalize on the opportunity embedded in our well-located shopping centers.

As a result, while we are not prepared to provide specific guidance for 2020, I would note that we do expect same-property NOI growth at or above 3% next year as the business plan we have laid out continues to result in strong base rent growth due to robust leasing activity and redevelopment deliveries despite our expectations of ongoing tenant disruptions.

As it relates to the balance sheet, we continued to advance our capital structure objectives in the third quarter by issuing $350 million of 10-year unsecured notes. The proceeds were used to repay the $300 million that remained outstanding under our 2021 term loan as well as outstanding amounts on our revolving credit facility, further extending our weighted average duration. As Jim mentioned, we now have no debt maturities until 2022 and no amounts outstanding on our $1.25 billion revolver. Debt-to-EBITDA is currently at 6.2x, and we have significant financial flexibility to execute on our business plan.

Last night, we announced a 1.8% dividend increase, which demonstrates both our commitment to providing shareholders with a growing income stream as well as our commitment to prudently funding our value-enhancing reinvestment pipeline and growing the intrinsic value of the portfolio. With this dividend increase, we will continue to report one of the lowest FFO payout ratios in the open-air sector. And with that, I will turn the call over to the operator for Q&A.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from the line of Christy McElroy with Citi.

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Christine Mary McElroy Tulloch, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - Director & Senior Analyst [2]

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Angela, just hoping you can talk a little bit about the mechanics of the trend in straight-line rents, which has been higher this year than you originally expected, understanding that you book it when a tenant takes possession of the space and that it becomes cash minimum rent when the tenant starts paying rent.

So the question is, if we think about the rent commencement that occurred in Q3, which had an impact on billed occupancy but also same-store growth, how should we think about that straight-line rent number in Q3, which is still at a pretty high level in the context of near-term incremental rent commencement? What's -- and what's sort of a good normal run rate for straight-line rents going forward?

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Angela M. Aman, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [3]

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Yes. Thanks, Christy. I mean you're right that we have seen additional straight-line rent relative to our original expectations this year. And to your point, it really has been a function of how large that spread between leased occupancy and billed occupancy has grown to over the course of the year, particularly in the third quarter as we had many tenants in possession of the space and later in the quarter taking -- commencing rents and even for the Q4 rent commencement dates.

If I look at the number we reported in the third quarter, I would certainly expect that it does begin to decelerate from this point going forward. But again, it really is going to be a function of that gap between leased occupancy and billed occupancy and how many tenants are in possession of the space and the duration of tenants in possession of the space before the rent commencement dates.

As I look forward to next quarter and then into 2020, I would certainly expect that we decelerate on straight-line income from here. And I would also -- just in terms of more broadly on noncash rental adjustment, as a reminder, I would say the FAS 141 or the above and below market rent is going to continue to decelerate as well.

The step-down you're seeing in 2019 relative to 2018 is a little outsized given the fact that we had acceleration of some below-market rent amounts in 2018 related to bankruptcy activity. But as we laid out in our 10-Q, you should expect to see $0.01 to $0.02 a share of deceleration on a year-over-year basis going forward from that line item as well.

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [4]

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Yes. And Christy, I'd just comment that it really does reflect our success in leasing and getting tenants in possession and accelerating that time frame to actual rent commencement. So while we do expect it to decelerate, we're going to continue to push on leasing to drive billed occupancy.

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Christine Mary McElroy Tulloch, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - Director & Senior Analyst [5]

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Okay, that's helpful. And then just your revised FFO guidance implies a range of $0.46 to $0.49 in Q4. You were at $0.49 in Q3. I'm guessing there's some coming dilution from dispositions that you just completed, which were pretty heavy.

So I guess, in addition to the 3% or higher same-store growth that you expect in 2020, Angela, that you alluded to, maybe you can kind of help us think about the major moving pieces that impact FFO in Q4 but also over the next few quarters. Because if I think about the midpoint of that Q4 range, it implies a base of annual FFO of $1.90.

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Angela M. Aman, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [6]

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Yes. Thanks, Christy. I would say -- I think you've hit on the major components in terms of Q3 to Q4. The 2 things really are noncash -- expected noncash deceleration, and then as well, the impact of both the third quarter capital recycling activity as well as any expectations for fourth quarter capital recycling activity as well.

As we look out to 2020, I would say it's effectively the same answer. We do expect again strength from same-property NOI growth. You will see some impact from capital recycling activity, which has been back-end weighted in 2019 and then any expectations for 2020 capital recycling activity, and then again, importantly, that deceleration from noncash income.

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Operator [7]

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The next question is from Todd Thomas with KeyBanc Capital Markets.

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Todd Michael Thomas, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Research Analyst [8]

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Can you talk about the acquisition pipeline a little bit here? I think, Jim, you touched on it briefly. You were a little quiet in the quarter after sourcing some deals in 2Q. Are you seeing more potential opportunities out there? And would you expect 2020 to shape up to be a more active year on the acquisition side than 2019?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [9]

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Absolutely. I'll let Mark comment a little bit. We are seeing some more opportunities. And a lot of what we've targeted are assets that aren't necessarily on the market, but assets that we think would further drive our clustering strategy in some of our key target markets. What we have noticed is that pricing remains pretty tight right now, and we're going to remain disciplined on the acquisition front. But I do expect that pace to accelerate and for us to be much more balanced in '20.

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Mark T. Horgan, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP & CIO [10]

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Yes, with respect to the pipeline, we're seeing some interesting current activity in the market. Certain private equity sources and pension funds have been bringing open-air assets into the market, I think in part to reduce their overall retail exposure, which is leading to some interesting individual asset acquisition and portfolio opportunities. So I think we'll see that over time.

The flip side of that coin is, we've also seen the increase -- an increase of inbounds from other private equity sources that are seeking open-air retail exposure because the asset class screens somewhat cheap relative to other major asset classes. So we're seeing those type of investors show up on the bid list, which is pretty healthy for the overall market.

But I think Jim said it well and we've talked about it in the past couple of quarters, it's about remaining disciplined with capital allocation here, and you shouldn't expect us just to do deals, just to do deals. And we are going to be very disciplined and find deals where we can drive value with our platform, like I think we will with the recent acquisitions we did in Q2.

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Todd Michael Thomas, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Research Analyst [11]

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Okay, great. And then, Angela, one of your peers sold common equity recently. Is that something you would consider in order to accelerate your deleveraging plans a little bit, maybe take leverage down below your longer-term target, maybe cash up for some future acquisitions and/or redevelopment opportunities here? How are you thinking about that?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [12]

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Let me start, and I'll let Angela finish. Look, we have brought our balance sheet to a great level and to where we promised over 2 years ago, which gives us adequate funding capacity for several years of what we're doing in addition to the free cash flow we're generating. We think we're cheap at this level. And so we don't think it makes sense to issue equity here.

And going forward, at different price levels perhaps, but what I think is most important about our plan is that we don't have to access the capital markets. And that was very important to us to make sure that we set up a self-contained plan that could drive growth, drive improvement in ROI that's not dependent on external funding sources.

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Angela M. Aman, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [13]

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Yes. I -- the only thing I would add to that is that we have said for some time now that we think that additional deleveraging really is going to come from EBITDA growth and that is a large part of what you saw in the current quarter.

That as -- all of the work we've done in the portfolio over the last few years really does drive unleveraged asset growth that is having a significant benefit in terms of our debt-to-EBITDA metric. And you're going to continue to see that over time as we harvest the below-market rent basis across the portfolio. So we do feel like that the balance sheet is in a great position and think that the work there is effectively done.

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [14]

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Yes. And just the last comment I'd make there is that we've got a balance sheet that's matched with the left side of what we're doing. And we're not taking much risk on the left side of our balance sheet.

Most of our reinvestment activity is pre-leased, it's shorter duration, and we're demonstrating that every quarter, to Angela's point, as it comes online, just like the $68 million this quarter with cash flow at great incremental returns. And the way we're funding it is delevering us. So we feel very good about the trajectory we're on.

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Operator [15]

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The next question is from Jeremy Metz with BMO Capital Markets.

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Robert Jeremy Metz, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Director & Analyst [16]

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Angela, you mentioned the 3% or higher same-store expectation for next year. Some landlords have been actively working with retailers like Bed Bath or Modell's to restructure some deals here and minimize some disruption next year. So I guess, I'm wondering, have you been doing the same?

And maybe you can just comment more broadly, as you sit here today, how you're thinking about bad debt for next year relative to that historical range of 75 to 100 basis points which you typically target?

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Angela M. Aman, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [17]

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Yes. I mean, it's a great question, Jeremy. I think as it relates to kind of renegotiations of existing contractual obligations from our tenants, we really haven't been engaging in those conversations. I do think we're in a different position than many other platforms given the fact that the portfolio is below market from a rent perspective.

So we have been, as I think we've proven, been able to deploy capital accretively and reset rents to market. And if we have an opportunity to do that, to take back space in order to do that, we're willing to entertain that. But we haven't been willing to entertain cutting what's already a below-market rent in order to facilitate that negotiation with a retailer. I'll let Brian comment more specifically.

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Brian T. Finnegan, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - EVP of Leasing [18]

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Yes. I think Angela covered most of it, Jeremy. I mean, we're in a great position. You can see it in terms of some of the distressed retail space that we've taken back. We've brought those leases to market. Demand's been there to backfill them and backfill them fairly quickly. So it puts us in a great position in our portfolio when retailers do ask, and sometimes they certainly do.

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Angela M. Aman, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [19]

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Yes. Just on your bad debt question specifically as it relates to next year, we've always said our expectations are for a level of bad debt across the portfolio of 75 to 100 basis points. We're trending this year right in the middle of that range, and that would certainly be our expectation for next year as well.

That said, as I mentioned in my comment about our 2020 outlook, we do assume that you see additional tenant disruption in the base rent line as well, and that's certainly incorporated in our expectations.

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Robert Jeremy Metz, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Director & Analyst [20]

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Yes, that's helpful. And as my follow-up here, I just wanted to stick with the same-property NOI topic here. I'm wondering how much, if you can quantify, redevelopment having an impact here? Is it 50? Is it 100 basis points? I recognize it's all positive to growth. We're trying to get a better sense of core growth versus redevelopment this year and as we look into next.

And then can you walk through the expense side a little more? You've obviously done very well keeping expenses flat. So wondering how you're kind of achieving that? How sustainable that really is? Are there costs being moved into redevelopment projects and being capitalized? Is that helping? Any color on that would be great.

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Angela M. Aman, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [21]

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Sure. In terms of the redevelopment impact on the third quarter and embedded in our expectation for full year 2019, it's been, if you just look at redev, the larger scale redevelopment projects in particular, it was about a 50 basis point benefit in the third quarter. It's going to be less of a benefit on a full year basis, probably in the order of magnitude 20 to 30 basis points on full year same-property NOI.

Remember that when we quote that number, it does include the future redevelopment pipeline. So all of the drag, as an example, associated with the Kmart bankruptcy is offsetting the growth you're seeing there from the in-process and recently completed redevelopment projects. But again, 50 basis points on the quarter or probably 25 basis points on a full year basis.

In terms of expenses, I would say the largest share of what's going on in terms of our ability to manage expenses has been, as I mentioned in my prepared remarks, the investments we've made in the portfolio over the last few years to really bring it up to, as Jim talked about on previous calls, are proudly owned and operated by Brixmor standard. And that certainly is resulting in certain categories of lower expenses over time as it relates to sometimes utility costs, sometimes repairs and maintenance across the portfolio.

We've also been very proactive about how we're managing our operating expense spend and thinking very critically about leakage on a property-by-property basis and doing the best we can to manage that against a backdrop of what was 400 basis points last quarter, 330 basis points this quarter of leases signed but not commenced and understanding that that occupancy is coming online through the end of 2020. And as a result, we're going to have opportunities to recover. So it's both of those things. Those are the primary drivers.

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Operator [22]

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Our next question comes from Alexander Goldfarb with Sandler O'Neill.

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Alexander David Goldfarb, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research & Senior REIT Analyst [23]

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Two questions. First, Angela, I appreciate the comments to Jeremy that your 3%-plus same-store for next year does incorporate some element of store closings, bad debt, et cetera.

But just as you guys look at what happened to Forever 21 where everyone expected it to be sort of prepackaged, and instead, they did something random, how much comfort is in your budget or how much budget is in your 3% to allow for just the vagaries, whether it's Ascena or Bed Bath or one of those big tenants doing something unexpected that sort of Forever 21 did? How much are you budgeting in there?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [24]

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Let me start there. As we look at our budget, we really do it bottom-up, Alex. And we look at not just potential tenant disruption but also move-outs and other things that would impact revenue in a given year. And so I think we've taken a fairly conservative look at what we expect the disruption to be on an ongoing basis looking into 2020.

But one thing I'd highlight, and that is that we've been thinking about this since the moment we joined, and that we've been aggressively managing that watch list getting ahead of these problems, not just for '20 but '21, '22 just as we were getting ahead of them before. So that doesn't mean that we've contemplated all potential outcomes, but we certainly look at an environment like this and expect that there's going to be continued disruption.

One of the things that had really attracted me to this opportunity that I thought was unique is I think we're in a different position in that even in an environment of disruption or declining market ABR, because of where we're starting from, we have the opportunity to drive growth.

And look at our lease maturity profile and you can see, based on where we're signing leases today relative to where those leases are turning over the next 3 to 4 years, that we've got a long runway even if market rents come back a little bit. So that's how we think about it. We don't think about it just for purposes of 2020. We really think about it in terms of how are we managing the portfolio.

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Alexander David Goldfarb, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research & Senior REIT Analyst [25]

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Okay. And then the second question is, you guys raised the dividend just a little under 2%. Historically, your bumps have been much bigger than that. And given your bullish comments on next year in same-store NOI, is -- the 2% dividend increase, is that just because that's the taxable minimum or is that because all that -- the rest of the cash flow is going to reinvestment?

Just trying to think how much signaling you're doing with the dividend increase relative to the growth that you're talking about on the call and all the signed but not yet commenced NOI.

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [26]

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We really manage our dividend to taxable income and where we expect that payout to be with a view towards our cheapest form of capital is that which we are internally generating so that we are in a position to produce a long-term track record of sustainable dividend increases. The 1.8% that we've increased the dividend this year follows what we did last year, but we certainly do expect that to accelerate over time as the income that we're signing delivers, and it's a good position to be in.

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Operator [27]

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Our next question comes from Shivani Sood with Deutsche Bank.

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Shivani A. Sood, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Associate [28]

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Understanding that the small shop vacancy is an important component to growth, as this economic cycle starts to get a little bit longer in the tooth, is there anything different about how you are approaching the underwriting process? And then the statistic has been in sort of the mid-80% area for a few quarters. So how high could we see -- expect to see this go as some of the redevelopments start to come online?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [29]

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I love this question. And it actually relates to something that we started doing 2.5 years ago, which is actively managing our portfolio of small shop tenancy and moving out those small shops that we thought were weaker. And admittedly, we took a hit to growth in 2017 and 2018 as a result of more proactive culling of the small shop portfolio, but what resulted is a base of small shop tenants that have much lower levels of delinquency, much stronger credit.

And then as we move forward, we absolutely are much more focused on financial strength of these small shop tenants, how much capital do they have to put to work, what are they doing with their shops, et cetera. And I think as we go forward, that's really with the view that we have an all-weather business plan that we are late in the cycle and trying to position ourselves to outperform.

Because our goal is not to be at 85% small shop occupancy. Our goal is to be much closer to 90%, which is something that I think this portfolio is capable of supporting with the better leasing and the better anchor tenants that we're bringing in and the repositioning that we're doing, the better operating that we're doing in these assets.

And again, I mentioned it last quarter, you're seeing it in our small shop growth statistics, but I really invite you all to get out and see what we're doing at the asset level because it will be much more palpable for you to see the changes, and you'll get how we're improving upon that opportunity.

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Shivani A. Sood, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Associate [30]

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And then we continue to hear about the expansion of the off-price brands and concepts and the strength of this retailing concept. Do you guys think we're beginning to hit a point of concentration in any of the brands or any of the concepts at all?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [31]

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I'm going to let Brian take this, but one observation to make is that that's part of a larger trend of disruption that's occurring vis-à-vis full price department stores and what's happening with those sales, where they're going, where that product is going and how those tenants continue to do well. Many of them think they have a lot more white space in terms of the number of new store openings. And we think it's a great way of serving the community in terms of bringing them true value.

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Brian T. Finnegan, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - EVP of Leasing [32]

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Yes. I would just add, and Jim hit it on the head. If you look at it, people want name brands at a discount, and these operators continue to deliver value. And speaking of the white space, if you look at like Ross Stores, for instance, they're not even in the Northeast yet. They just entered into the Midwest, opening their first stores in Ohio this year.

There continues to be white space out there for TJX. Burlington's done a phenomenal job. And they keep improving the shopping experience within their stores. So as department stores close, to Jim's point, they're picking up most of that traffic, and we continue to see good demand from them for space and white space out going forward.

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [33]

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Yes. One -- the other side of this, and I think, it's also important to mention is just overall portfolio management. And we do think about our exposures to individual tenants and where they should be. And I think the strength of our platform is the tenant diversification that we do have and the strength of the top 20 or top 40 tenants that we have throughout the portfolio.

Our largest tenant is 3% of revenue, and that's intentional. And so we watch very carefully what are the concepts that are growing, how are they doing from a sales performance standpoint. And then importantly, on the other side of that, where do we stand relative to our exposure to them.

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Operator [34]

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Our next question comes from the line of Samir Khanal with Evercore ISI.

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Samir Upadhyay Khanal, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - MD & Equity Research Analyst [35]

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Jim or Mark, can you talk about the pricing you've seen in the grocery-anchored center, especially as it relates to secondary markets? It sounds like the core markets have held firm, but I'm just trying to get some color in the secondary markets here.

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Mark T. Horgan, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP & CIO [36]

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Yes, I would actually say, I think, in what you might quantify as primary markets, you're actually seeing very stable to perhaps some cap rate compression on the grocery-anchored side depending on the strength of the grocer.

On the secondary side of what you would call secondary side, we really haven't seen that much change. We continue to see demand for assets in markets that are not the top 10 markets across the country. We continue to receive a significant amount of inbound seeking access to those type of assets. We haven't seen a drastic change there.

It really comes down to, like it always has, strength of the real estate, strength of the grocer, how's the asset been managed over time. So we haven't really seen that much of a change.

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [37]

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Liquidity, Samir, still seems bifurcated in that if you have an asset under $50 million, you have [long better lift]. If you get above $50 million, that tends to shrink, which we hope will be an opportunity for us going forward in terms of where assets are being priced. Because below $50 million, it's clearly pretty competitive still, driven in no small measure by where interest rates are and the availability of financing. That's, I think, really what's driving a lot of the pricing today.

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Samir Upadhyay Khanal, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - MD & Equity Research Analyst [38]

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I mean, just as a follow-up, I mean, given that pricing seems to be holding firm even in the secondary markets, I mean, could you take advantage of that pricing and even be sort of net sellers next year? I mean, obviously, there's been a lot of conversations about what could come down the line in terms of disruption in grocery, right? I mean, could you take advantage of that maybe next year, just becoming a bit more net sellers?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [39]

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We really are focused on being more balanced. I think, from a balance sheet perspective, and importantly, from a portfolio perspective, we've been in front of those assets that we deem to be noncore or that we think will be dilutive to our long-term ROI and growth prospects.

And we've sold now over $1.8 billion of real estate just in the last couple of years, which puts us in a great position to be more balanced. And frankly, I like that posture because it allows me to be a bit more indifferent as to the movement of cap rates because I'm buying and selling.

And I also think it's really important for our long-term plan that we continue to find assets like we did in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, to which we can apply, I think, the unique strengths of a national platform where we have the relationships with tenants, the access to capital, and frankly, the track record and experience in repositioning these assets for long-term growth.

Which is a unique set of characteristics against many of the buyers with whom we might be competing, who are more leveraged buyers, who don't have the national platform and don't have the ability to fund significant additional capital to take the center to where it needs to be. So you're not going to see us again, as I said in my remarks, chasing the bright shiny finished asset. We're going to be looking for those assets that really do provide us an opportunity to drive value-added type returns.

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Operator [40]

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The next question comes from Caitlin Burrows with Goldman Sachs.

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Caitlin Burrows, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst [41]

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Maybe if we just think about the 2019 same-store guidance, the midpoint is now for just above 3%, which is in the 3% to 4% range that you gave at the end of 2017. So I was wondering if you could just talk about how much has played out as planned, kind of showing how much visibility you have versus puts and takes that have come up along the way but kind of gotten you to a similar place?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [42]

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Yes. I'm really pleased with how the plans have come together. I think most importantly, we're demonstrating how we can be effective in allocating capital to these assets and driving meaningful incremental returns, which is certainly part of it as well as capitalizing on the below-market rents and simply just leasing to better tenants at better rents.

And I'm incredibly pleased that we delivered on time and as promised in the range that we expect to take this portfolio not just for the next several quarters but for the next several years. And I'd just point to, again, we're trying to provide you visibility in that, both in terms of our existing in-process pipeline, our future pipeline as well as where we're signing rents consistently every quarter and where our rents are rolling, which we provide detail on.

And that combination, as I alluded to in my remarks, of a growing reinvestment pipeline, a growing leasing pipeline, both executed leases and leases in process as well as the velocity with which we're delivering on the reinvestment pipeline really give us a great deal of visibility and put us in a much different position, market conditions, either down or up than if we were sitting on a portfolio of fully rented, fully repositioned assets.

That's where you're playing defense. And that's where you might be, as was alluded to in an earlier question, at a disadvantage in negotiating with a tenant who might believe they're at a rent that's above market. So it's very affirming to see the plan come together.

And on the margins, we're doing a bit better on operating margin than we had anticipated, and we're certainly seeing that and the contribution from recoveries. But I would say, we're just real pleased with how the plan has come together and what this quarter means in terms of the next several.

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Operator [43]

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The next question comes from Greg McGinniss with Scotiabank.

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Greg Michael McGinniss, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst [44]

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Mark, obviously, this was a healthy quarter for dispositions, sold nearly 2.5% of total G&A. And I've noticed second half of the year tends to run heavier than the first half in general for transactions. Is it fair to think about a similar level of dispositions in Q4? And I'm just curious kind of what's in the pipeline for dispositions today? And also, if you could disclose the cap rate on the 3Q dispositions, that would be appreciated as well.

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Mark T. Horgan, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP & CIO [45]

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So a couple of things here. The cap rates for Q3 were generally in line with where we've been selling assets. Over the past few years, it was slightly higher based on the mix of assets that we transacted on in Q3. Q4, I would expect to be lower than Q3. And as Jim said, the goal is to try to match fund acquisitions and dispositions over time.

It will be lumpy. You don't control -- I don't control exactly when assets will change, will trade down. So expect to be a bit lumpy, but over time, in the long run, it should be match funded. I'm sorry, I don't think I've answered all your questions. What else did you want to hit on?

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Greg Michael McGinniss, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst [46]

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No, that pretty much -- that covered the disposition questions. And then Brian, on leasing, obviously, it's chugging along pretty smoothly. Would you mind giving us just a few details on the changes in terms of the anchor and small shop leasing since last quarter, new impacts from bankrupt tenants and then kind of expectations as we finish the year?

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Brian T. Finnegan, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - EVP of Leasing [47]

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Sure. It's a great question. We continue to see the demand from many of the relevant retailers that we've been doing business with, we've been adding to our centers. As Jim mentioned, the investments that we're making, the redevelopments that are coming online continue to attract best-in-class retailers to our assets. And so as we look out, that pipeline is still very robust.

From a small shop perspective, we've leased 20% more small shop GLA this year than we did during the same period a year ago and are on pace to have our best small shop leasing year, despite the fact that we've had some disruption from Payless, Avenue and Charming. And I think that really the stat this quarter, a 30 basis point increase despite some of that bankruptcy impact, which is 80 basis points year-over-year, just speaks to the focus of our team and capitalizing on those investments.

So we've been really pleased with the pipeline, and you'll see us continue to announce new leases with the most relevant retailers that are expanding in the strip center space over the next few quarters.

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Operator [48]

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Our next question comes from Ki Bin Kim with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

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Ki Bin Kim, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD [49]

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Just a couple of follow-ups. So when you said acquisitions and dispositions will be more balanced, it sounded like you're implying that it will actually be pretty close to equal to each other. Does that sound right?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [50]

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Yes, pretty close. There'll be some of those disposition proceeds that go to continuing to fund reinvestment, but that's what we mean. And it may mean that though in 1 quarter, we're net sellers, in 1 quarter, we're net acquirers, to Mark's point, it can be lumpy and hard to plan but expect us over several quarters to average out and be more balanced.

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Ki Bin Kim, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD [51]

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I mean, that's a big change from what we've been seeing from Brixmor for the past few years. So thanks for that clarification. And then just bigger picture, obviously, the retail shopping center stocks have done well this year, including yourself. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that headline bankruptcies for tenants that are focused in the shopping center space have been light.

So I'm curious what you think, just kind of bigger picture, is the health of your tenants and your business? And are there still [stone clauses] just a matter of time and maybe the can has been kicked down the road? And how do those -- how does that world view shape like what you talked about being more balanced in terms of acquisitions and dispositions? And what does that mean when it comes to actually negotiating with tenants for different rents?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [52]

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We love the open-air business. I mean, it is a business that's a wide funnel in terms of the types of uses that want retail storefronts near where people live and work. And it's a product that has a very low cost of occupancy relative to other types of competitive products and one that even as we go through all this disruption, what I have a ton of conviction in, will continue to remain relevant.

We certainly expect some of the less relevant tenants, I don't need to provide you a list, all you need to do is read the news, will experience disruption over the next couple of quarters. But I have tremendous confidence not only in our ability to backfill that space but to backfill it at better rents with better tenants in part because of where we're coming from from a rent basis standpoint.

When I started, I kept saying, rent basis matters. No one listened, but it does matter, and it's part of why we are driving the performance that we're going to drive not only this quarter but for the next several quarters.

In terms of what we think about from an investment standpoint, we think we can take the strengths of this platform and apply it to certain other shopping centers that have become less relevant but are clustered around ones that we own. And why is that important? Because we're not taking risks as it relates to understanding the market, we're buying the center across the street.

I think we know what market rents are. And I think we're going to have a vision on how to drive ROI and drive acceptable rates of return against a market backdrop that always is cyclical, always has disruption. And if you don't have a business plan that positions you to outperform in that, then you do so at your peril.

And the last thing I'd tell you is that we see great opportunities on the investment side in this environment to continue to drive growth. So when I hear that the retail shopping center has outperformed year-to-date, and geez, is there any more room to run whatever? We're still ridiculously cheap. We were really cheap at the end of last year. So for those of you who believed in us and believed that we'd execute and deliver, thank you. And I can promise you that we will continue to deliver on that, given the visibility that we have.

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Ki Bin Kim, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD [53]

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Okay. And maybe a quick one for Angela. You gave some good color on some of the expense moving pieces. Just curious as we look into next year, the kind of reimbursements that you've gotten for certain capital expenditures. Do you continue to see that and maybe other expense line items to continue to benefit more so next year?

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Angela M. Aman, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [54]

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I would expect that the contribution from net recoveries ends up being less significant in 2020 than it was or will be in 2019.

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Operator [55]

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Our next question comes from Vince Tibone with Green Street Advisors.

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Vince Tibone, Green Street Advisors, Inc. - Analyst of Retail [56]

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I have a question on the Dress Barn closure process. My understanding is they're able to get out of most of their leases around year-end without paying a termination fee. Is this the case for Brixmor as well? And in your opinion, what gave them the leverage to negotiate this unique arrangement?

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Brian T. Finnegan, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - EVP of Leasing [57]

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This is Brian. Look, they came to us early in the summer as they did many landlords. And I think looking at both the demand for the space and the situation kind of with Ascena overall, we made the same calculation that many landlords did across the industry, and we're getting the spaces back at year-end, they are paying rent through the end of this year.

In terms of the demand for that space, it's been pretty good so far. I mean we've got 60% of that space either signed or essentially committed, meaning at LOI or at lease. So there will be some downtime associated when we get those spaces back at year-end, but we signed 2 of them during the quarter with Five Below, Pet Supplies Plus. We've got other demand from Five Below, Boutique Fitness. So the demand we're seeing has been pretty good so far.

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Vince Tibone, Green Street Advisors, Inc. - Analyst of Retail [58]

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No, that makes sense. I'm just curious if I can dig a little deeper, like, why -- because, I mean, there are probably a lot of other retailers that would love to exit leases without paying any fees. Like why was Dress Barn able to do it? Was it the threat of bankruptcy of just bankruptcy net entity? Or was it the risk of the whole parent company going under? I'm just curious like why were the landlords so accommodative in this case versus probably a lot of other retailers who have similar requests and you guys say no?

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Brian T. Finnegan, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - EVP of Leasing [59]

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Sure. It had to do particularly with Dress Barn itself and the entity on those leases and very unique compared to other retailers. Without getting into it any further, I think you saw landlords really across the industry come to the same calculation that we did, that there was the ability to get rent through the end of the year and have certainty about that made sense based off of the signature on those leases.

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [60]

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And also, Vince, the certainty of getting those spaces back, which were at pretty attractive rents made sense to us.

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Vince Tibone, Green Street Advisors, Inc. - Analyst of Retail [61]

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No, that makes sense. But is it fair to say this would be more of a one-off arrangement than something you could see other retailers replicating with landlords?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [62]

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Yes.

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Operator [63]

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Our next question comes from Michael Mueller with JPMorgan.

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Michael William Mueller, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst [64]

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Looks like you have had some nice progress in terms of shop leasing. But how far down the road do you think we need to look until we see that number go into the high 80s to closer to 90. Is it 3 years, 5 years, could it be inside of that?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [65]

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I think it's a 3-year time frame.

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Operator [66]

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Our next question comes from the line of Haendel St. Juste with Mizuho.

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Haendel Emmanuel St. Juste, Mizuho Securities USA LLC, Research Division - MD of Americas Research & Senior Equity Research Analyst [67]

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So just a couple of quick ones here. Notwithstanding the meaningful value you're creating via your redevelopment, the overall yield on the total in-process reinvestments declined to 9% from 10% last quarter. Can you talk a bit more about what's going on there?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [68]

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Yes, it's really a mix of what's in that pipeline. And really, we're talking about 10 basis points [or rounding]. But what's most important, Haendel, to look at is what we're delivering, the schedule of what we're delivering and what we're actually reporting every quarter. And you can see we're outperforming.

And I feel real good about not only what we have underway, which is largely leased, but all of this leasing that we're talking about is setting up the future pipeline as well and putting us in a great position to see that $400 million continue to grow on the back end, while on the front end, we continue to deliver. So -- and these are great returns that we're able to generate in part because of where we're coming from from a rent basis standpoint.

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Haendel Emmanuel St. Juste, Mizuho Securities USA LLC, Research Division - MD of Americas Research & Senior Equity Research Analyst [69]

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Got it, okay. And a bit of an add-on to an earlier question on recoveries. Last quarter, I think you guys implied that recoveries will be net neutral in the second half of this year, net neutral to same-store NOI. This quarter added 70 basis points. I'm curious, I guess, maybe was that expected? And has your view on being net neutral in the second half of this year changed?

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Angela M. Aman, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [70]

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Yes. As I mentioned in response to a previous question, I do think that net recoveries are going to be a positive contributor on a full year basis. I do, at this point, still expect some reversion in the fourth quarter, but still think that the category overall on 2019 same-property NOI will be a positive contributor. As you look forward to 2020 and what's implied in sort of that at or better than 3% number I gave earlier for 2020, I would expect that it's less of a positive contributor or neutral for 2020.

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Haendel Emmanuel St. Juste, Mizuho Securities USA LLC, Research Division - MD of Americas Research & Senior Equity Research Analyst [71]

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Got it. And since maybe I don't think there's anyone really behind me in line, one of the -- guess, squeeze 1/2 question in here. I didn't get an exact number, Mark, on the third quarter cap rates. You mentioned they were generally in line, but can you be more specific what was the exact cap rate?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [72]

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I think we've been pretty consistent in the 7.5% to 8% range and that's -- as Mark alluded to, we were at the upper end of that range in the quarter.

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Operator [73]

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Our next question comes from the line of Floris van Dijkum with Compass Point.

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Floris Gerbrand Hendrik van Dijkum, Compass Point Research & Trading, LLC - Analyst [74]

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A question on the redevelopment. Most of the redevelopment opportunities are pretty small and granular. Obviously, returns have been stellar. But as you think about some of the larger redevelopment opportunities going forward, I noted a couple of including Mira Mesa, the project you alluded to, Jim, but also University Mall and Superior Marketplace could entail residential components.

Presumably, that would increase the cost, also probably lower the implied yield on development although the total returns should be similar, I would imagine. Could you maybe walk us through that? And also, as -- how many other sites do you see potential multi-use opportunities?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [75]

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I've talked about this a little bit on past calls, and I appreciate the question because part of what we're doing from a redevelopment standpoint is making sure that we're teeing up those opportunities for additional densification, most of which is residential, whether it's student housing for many of our university properties or senior housing or market rate multifamily.

And we believe big picture that we have over 40 assets that would support residential of some type and additional density. And the approach that we've been taking has been one that's conservative admittedly, getting the entitlements in place and then thinking about the best way for us to maximize the value of those entitlements while making sure we don't lose control over the site.

And so expect us, not in the next couple of quarters but several quarters out, to start talking more about what those opportunities represent and how we're capitalizing on them. But what's embedded in your question, we have tremendous opportunities at much higher rates of return in our core competency, which is retail. And we know that that's our core competency. So we'll -- as we move forward and put the higher densities on some of these sites, expect us to do it in a very balanced and responsible way.

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Floris Gerbrand Hendrik van Dijkum, Compass Point Research & Trading, LLC - Analyst [76]

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Great. Maybe one follow-up question. In terms of the Sears exposure that I believe you had 11 stores that closed, maybe if you can give us an update? I know a couple of them, 4 of them are in the redevelopment pipeline already. Maybe give us an update on the remaining stores that were in your portfolio?

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Brian T. Finnegan, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - EVP of Leasing [77]

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Floris, this is Brian. We are incredibly pleased with the progress that the team has made in backfilling these Kmart locations. And I think it speaks to one of Jim's earlier points in how we kept getting ahead of this, in particular, and how the team's gotten ahead of many troubled retailers.

We're either completed or will be completed with all but 2 of our Kmart spaces that we took back roughly a year ago -- completed, I'm sorry, or under construction on all but 2 of our spaces by the first quarter of next year at 2.5x the rent that we were getting from Kmart.

When you think about the tenants that we're bringing into our portfolio, Kohl's, TJX, Ross, Old Navy, Ulta, Five Below, some of the leading retailers that are expanding today. And this quarter, we announced another one outside of Philadelphia. So expect us to continue to announce these.

We're expecting rent to come back online in the back half of 2020. Some rent has already commenced but on the ones that we're going to be starting here at the back end of 2019 and early '20, we'll see rent start to come online in the back half of '20 and early 2021.

But really incredibly pleased with the progress our entire team has done because it's not just leasing, it's our operations team, it's our redevelopment team in terms of getting these projects [entitled] and being able to execute. So we're doing -- the team is doing a great job.

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Floris Gerbrand Hendrik van Dijkum, Compass Point Research & Trading, LLC - Analyst [78]

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Can you maybe give us -- give an update on the Coastal Landing exposure you have as well (multiple speakers)?

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Brian T. Finnegan, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - EVP of Leasing [79]

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Yes, it's the last one that we effectively own. Our Hamilton location will be expiring. And you can see that in our redevelopment pipeline that we've already got that spoken for from a lease perspective. Coastal in Brooksville, they still control it. Right now, they have term on the lease and a lot of options. But we're certainly in dialogue with them in terms of what's going on going forward, but they control that space for now.

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Angela M. Aman, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [80]

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Yes, it's a very below-market rent at Coastal Way, and I think the important thing here is, as you get into the early part of 2020, we'll really have de minimis exposure to Sears Kmart going forward.

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Operator [81]

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Our final question comes from the line of Greg McGinniss with Scotiabank.

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Greg Michael McGinniss, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst [82]

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Just one more quick one for me. Jim, you've mentioned that you think the stock is cheap at this level. But based on the appreciation of share price this year and starting to target more acquisitions, is it fair to assume that buybacks may be taking a back seat to other forms of capital use?

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James M. Taylor, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - CEO, President & Director [83]

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No. I don't think so. I mean, I think what's most important is that we're balanced. And as we think about buybacks, we do think we're undervalued at this point. But the way we've always approached that, Greg, is what are we funding it with?

We're not trying to be market timers on the stock price. We're always with a view of continuing to strengthen the balance sheet, hitting our objectives, which I'm very proud we have in line with what we talked about over 2 years ago and also striking that right balance so, Greg, because I think on a marginal basis, you'd still point to repurchase of common stock.

Yes, this is a long-term business, and we're seeing the benefit of clustering of these investments with some of these acquisitions. So those are really the factors that we consider as we think about where the proceeds being generated from asset sales are deployed.

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Operator [84]

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We have reached the end of our question-and-answer session, so I'd like to pass the floor back over to Ms. Slater for any additional concluding comments.

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Stacy Slater, Brixmor Property Group Inc. - SVP of IR & Capital Markets [85]

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Thanks, everyone. We look forward to seeing many of you at NAREIT in a few weeks.

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Operator [86]

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Ladies and gentlemen, this does conclude today's teleconference. Again, we thank you for your participation, and you may disconnect your lines at this time.