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Retail REIT Primed for Acquisitions

01/04/2013 | By Carisa Chappell

Gary Sabin, chairman and CEO of Excel Trust Inc. (NYSE: EXL), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2012: NAREIT's Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.

Excel Trust is a retail-focused REIT that primarily targets community and power centers, grocery-anchored neighborhood centers and freestanding retail properties. The company has its headquarters in San Diego.

Having been active in the acquisition market, Sabin was asked whether or not Excel Trust sees more favorable opportunities in 2013.

"We do. We have a pipeline that's pretty robust right now. We have several hundred million dollars of properties that we are sifting and trying to have that cream rise to the top," he said, adding that the low interest rate environment is attractive.

With a focused investment strategy on the East Coast, West Coast and Sun Belt regions of the country, Sabin said demographics are favorable.

"That seems to be a favorable demographic area where people are moving," he said. "We look at a number of things that have done well for us over the last 30 years and that has been the quality of the school district and the household income."

When it comes to growth, Sabin said a recent analyst report noted that, among its peers, Excel Trust had the top ranking as far as potential growth and population in the areas where the company owns property.

"It may not be in Boston or New York, where a lot of our peers buy, but it may be in Dallas or Scottsdale or someplace that is a suburb in the path of growth," he said. "We think these locations are good now, but they just get better."

Sabin said when deciding to buy a property the company likes to first ask itself three questions.

"If the tenant left could we lease it for the same rate? Can we sell it for more money today that we paid for it yesterday? And can we grow the NOI?"

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