The IPO, which raised nearly
"The founders were folks who believed in integrity and had a strong work ethic, and I think those two characteristics are pillars of what we continue to pursue today," said
Fritsch was one of 13 CEOs of publicly traded office REITs that rang the closing bell Monday at the
The anniversary comes at a good time for Highwoods. Although it missed
"We believe (Highwoods) markets, portfolio and land bank are well positioned to benefit from outsized job, population and economic growth in its regions as the cycle progresses,"
"The three most important words in real estate are location, timing and capital, and Highwoods has done a masterful job at balancing all three of those," he said. "It's absolutely critical that you understand that real estate is a cyclical business. Highwoods does and has responded accordingly."
Anderson joined the Highwoods board after selling his
That year Highwoods began putting in place a new strategic plan that involved pruning its portfolio, shifting development to the denser parts of its markets and improving its balance sheet. Today the company's portfolio is 75 percent different than it was at the end of 2004, the result of nearly
Anderson said one of the more remarkable things about Highwoods is that it is still using the same basic strategic plan it adopted in 2004 and finding continued success.
The timely sale of assets before the financial crisis put Highwoods on solid financial footing at a time when many other REITs were loaded with debt. Fritsch said one of the things he is most proud of is the fact that Highwoods has continued to pay 100 percent of its employees' health care and maintained its generous 401(k) match.
He said Highwoods is also the only office REIT that didn't reduce its dividend between mid-2008 and now.
In recent years, Highwoods has begun putting its strong balance sheet to work. The company has bought nearly
Fritsch said it's become more difficult to find properties in today's market.
"We're still pursuing acquisitions but ... there seems to be a tsunami of money out there," he said. "And as a result of that, pricing is getting, we think, a bit out of sync with the risk profile for certain assets."
Highwoods now has just under 1 million square feet of office space under construction, of which 87 percent is pre-leased. Those projects include a new campus for
Although Highwoods is continuing to pursue pre-leasing and built-to-suit opportunities, Fritsch said most of those projects are outside the Triangle.
"We have high confidence that it would grow," he said. "But the majority of what we're pursuing now is in other markets."
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