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Highwoods Closes Bank of America Tower at Legacy Union Buyout

Zacks Equity Research

Highwoods Properties HIW recently announced closing the acquisition of Bank of America Tower at Legacy Union. The company has shelled out $436 million as total investment for this transaction, which marks the company’s entry into the CBD Charlotte. Highwoods funded the buyout with available cash and borrowings under its unsecured revolving credit facility.

Being part of the CBD Charlotte with the latest acquisition is a strategic move by the company. This marks an iconic asset buyout in a prime infill location in a top-tier submarket, offering the company a solid footing in a higher-growth market and platform to expand its presence. This LEED gold-registered office building comprises 841,000 square feet and is presently 90% leased.

In fact, this August, the company came up with a number of strategic investment actions to fortify its Best Business District (“BBD”) office focus. Meanwhile, Highwoods also revealed its plan to exit the Greensboro and Memphis markets.

Per the company, its portfolio includes 2,672,000 square feet of industrial space, 1,151,000 square feet of office space and 30 acres of development land in Greensboro. Assets in Memphis comprise 1,656,000 square feet of office space.

The company has a two-phased plan for departure. In the first phase, it will be selling a hand-picked portfolio of assets in Greensboro and Memphis by mid-2020. The sales price will approximate the $436-million total investment for Bank of America Tower at Legacy Union and closing its division offices. The rest of the assets will be sold in the second phase, which has no pre-planned schedule.

Highwoods has been making prudent moves to expand its footprint in high-growth markets and enhance portfolio quality. The company is following a disciplined capital-recycling strategy that entails disposing of non-core assets and investing the proceeds in premium asset acquisitions, and undertaking accretive development projects. It is currently focused on developing office properties in BBDs and therefore, the market rotation plan is expected to help Highwoods ride on its growth trajectory over the long run.

Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 6.6% in the past three months, while its industry fell 2.5%.



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