Houston, Texas, April 24, 2012 –Whitestone REIT (NYSE-Amex: WSR – “Whitestone”), a real estate investment trust that acquires, owns and operates Community Centered PropertiesTM, today reported occupancy and leasing highlights for the first quarter, ended March 31, 2012. The physical occupancy of its Operating Portfolio1was 87% as of March 31, 2012, a 3% percent increase over the year-ago first quarter ended March 31, 2011 and was unchanged since the prior quarter ended December 31, 2011. The Company’s total occupancy, including the newly purchased value add properties in Phoenix, was 85% as of the end of the current quarter, a 1% increase from December 31, 2011.
Whitestone’s leasing team signed 90 leases totaling 159,167 square feet (“sf”) in new and renewal leases during the first quarter, and currently has over 941 total tenants, of which 72% lease space that is less than 3,000 sf, provide services as opposed to goods, and are located in multi-cultural neighborhoods.
“We continue to build from our small tenant base platform and business model and are gaining a foothold, as current tenants expand into adjacent spaces and look to expand their business at other Whitestone locations. We have expanded our tenant roster over the last twelve months by adding 153 new tenants,” said James C. Mastandrea, Whitestone’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our new Director of Real Estate Development, Richard Rollnick, who joined Whitestone last month, is focused on initiating value-add transformation and redevelopment of numerous residual land and out parcel projects within our current portfolio. Additionally, he will lead the Phase II ground-up development and construction to add new lease space on our two expansion parcels that we purchased in late December 2011. These projects are expected to begin mid to late 2013 and include a 4.45 acre Phase II parcel for Pinnacle of Scottsdale in North Scottsdale and a 2.73 acre parcel adjacent to The Shops at Starwood in Frisco, Texas.”
Gilbert Tuscany – Gilbert: Five new leases were signed within this family-themed Community Center in the growing Phoenix East Valley market area. Hen House, Inc. signed a lease for a new 2,935 sf restaurant, Karve Studios signed a lease for a new 2,432 sf exercise studio, A World of Heaven signed a lease for a new 1,481 sf bookstore, an operator for a new Nail Salon signed a 1,481 sf lease, and a lease was also signed for a new 1,012 sf massage studio.
Desert Canyon – Scottsdale: Five new, expansion, and renewal small tenant leases totaling 3,710 sf were signed in this Community Center targeting the surrounding young family demographic. This includes a 1,563 sf expansion by Classic Cooking Academy, a chef-preparatory school, for an adjacent café restaurant now open to the public.
Terravita – Scottsdale: Sherwin Williams signed a new lease for 3,868 sf; Animal Hospital at Terravita signed a 1,486 sf renewal lease in this seniors-at-home focused Community Center.
I-10 Office Warehouse – Houston: 24,730 sf of new and expansion leases were signed in this energy corridor office/flex Community Center, including a 15,705 sf expansion lease for Peterson-Morris Wholesale Distributing, one of the largest flooring distributors in Houston, and a new 4,000 sf lease for Houston Custom Metal Work.
Corporate Park Northwest – Houston: In this small business incubator themed Community Center business park, 22 new, expansion, and renewal leases were signed totaling 30,000 sf. Tenants include Marlene Avila, a certified refloxologist, and Spartan Global Services Group.
Featherwood – Houston: Over 16,000 sf of new, expansion, and renewal leases were signed in this office Center, including a 40% expansion by Sage Environmental, an environmental consulting firm for the oil and gas industry.
About Whitestone REIT
Whitestone REIT is a fully integrated real estate company that owns, operates and re-develops Community Centered PropertiesTM, which are visibly located properties in established or developing culturally diverse neighborhoods. Whitestone focuses on value-creation in its Centers, as it markets, leases and manages its Centers to match tenants with the shared needs of surrounding neighborhoods. Operations are structured for providing cost-effective service to local service-oriented smaller space tenants (less than 3,000 square feet). Whitestone has a diversified tenant base concentrated on service offerings such as medical, education, and casual dining. The largest of its over 900 tenants comprises less than 2% of its rental revenues. Headquartered in Houston, Texas and founded in 1998, the Company is internally managed with a portfolio of commercial Centers in Texas, Arizona, and Illinois. For additional information about the Company, please visit www.whitestonereit.com. The investor section of the Company's website has links to SEC filings, news releases, financial reports and investor newsletters.
1 Operating Portfolio - excludes new acquisitions through the earlier of (1) attainment of 90% occupancy or 18 months of ownership and (2) properties which are undergoing significant redevelopment or re-tenanting.
Statements included herein that state the Company's or management's intentions, hopes, beliefs, expectations or predictions of the future are "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which by their nature, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. The Company's actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements. Reference is made to the Company's regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for information or factors that may impact the Company's performance.