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Empire State Realty Not Just Iconic Property, CEO Says

11/19/2013 | By Mitch Irzinski

Tony Malkin, president and CEO of Empire State Realty Trust (NYSE: ESRT), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2013: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

Empire State Realty Trust held an initial public offering (IPO) earlier this year. Malkin talked about the market reaction to his company’s recent IPO.

“It’s been terrific,” he said. “The great thing about our action and our activity over time is that we fulfilled exactly what the investors asked us to do. They voted for consolidation and an IPO. We went through what was an arduous process – very interesting by the way, it really was – and now we’re public. We’re thrilled, we’ve got fantastic investors, and we’re actually thrilled to be here at REITWorld.”

Malkin discussed having such an iconic property in his company’s portfolio and if any investors are surprised to find that the firm owns more than just the Empire State Building.

“We have a very sophisticated investor base,” he said. “The dedicated REIT investor is a very knowledgeable investor. We did not do a tremendous amount of retail in our IPO. We have some very, very cream-of-the-crop, dedicated REIT investors. For these folks, it’s not about the image of the Empire State Building. It’s about nuts and bolts. It’s about the performance that we have and the performance that they think there may be in the future.”

Now that the IPO is complete, Malkin offered his thoughts on the near-term plans for his company.

“We’re going to execute our strategy as we laid out to investors,” he said. “We believe it’s very important for us to make good on what we said. We have properties that are below market occupancy. We’ve got rents below market rents in a fair amount of our portfolio. We’ve demonstrated to date that we can turn those lower rents to higher rents. We can create vacancy and then lease it up. Really, we just intend to stick to our knitting and demonstrate that we can perform and be a good public company.”