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Piedmont (PDM) Sells NASA Headquarters, Updates Q2 Leasing


Piedmont Office Realty Trust PDM announced the sale of its largest asset in Washington D.C. – Two Independence Square – to Hana Asset Management for around $360 million. The building operates as NASA headquarters. The company also reported its second-quarter leasing and capital markets activity. In addition, it expects to witness higher leasing volume in the second half of the year.

Notably, this Washington D.C. property has undergone a redevelopment worth $50 million. Its 15-year lease with NASA led to solid value creation. The company intends to utilize the proceeds from the transaction to reduce debts and strengthen its balance sheet.

Further, Piedmont wrapped up its business from the Sarasota market by selling off the Sarasota Commerce Center II for $23.5 million. Per management, the company is likely to be a net seller this year, but will continue its acquisition spree in its eight targeted markets.

On the other hand, Piedmont noted that although leasing activity in the quarter lacked large transactions compared to the other years, the volume of deals remained decent. Specifically, around 362,000 square feet of space has been leased in totality in second-quarter 2017.

Piedmont is engaged in acquisition, ownership, management and development of Class A office properties in the core U.S. office markets. The numerous transactions indicate the company’s success in selling non-strategic assets and redeploying the proceeds into targeted sub-markets.

Piedmont currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Over the past 30 days, the company’s full-year 2017 funds from operations (“FFO”) per share estimates inched up 0.6% to $1.76, while the second-quarter 2017 estimate climbed 2.3% to 44 cents.

However, over the last three months, shares of Piedmont fell 9.5%, underperforming the Zacks categorized REIT and Equity Trust – Other industry’s decline of 2.1%.

Stocks to Consider

A few better-ranked stocks in the REIT space are Liberty Property Trust LPT, PS Business Parks, Inc. PSB and Whitestone REIT WSR. While Whitestone REIT sports a Zacks Rank #1(Strong Buy), Liberty Property and PS Business Parks have a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Whitestone REIT’s FFO per share estimates for 2017 climbed 3.9% to $1.05, over the past 60 days.

Liberty Property Trust and PS Business Parks have long-term growth rates of 6% and 5%, respectively.

Note: All EPS numbers presented in this write up represent funds from operations (“FFO”) per share. FFO, a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs, is obtained after adding depreciation and amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.

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