Brent Smith, president and CEO of Piedmont Office Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: PDM), participated in a video interview at Nareit’s REITworld: 2022 Annual Conference held in San Francisco on Nov. 15-17.
Smith discussed how Dallas, Atlanta, and Orlando have been the strongest markets in terms of their contribution to Piedmont’s leasing. However, Atlanta has had the most absorption year to date of all of Piedmont’s markets in the Sun Belt, he added.
Smith described Piedmont’s 1180 Peachtree Street, located in the Atlanta Midtown submarket, as a “skyline-defining” asset in terms of its quality.
“Midtown overall is probably the most dynamic submarket we have in the Sun Belt and really pretty unique in that you have a great mix of housing…a great retail environment, and high quality office space. It’s got all the components that we see make a very vibrant market and we want to grow in that market,” Smith said.
He noted that with the purchase of 1180 Peachtree, in addition to that of 999 Peachtree in 2021, Piedmont went from having no presence in the Midtown submarket to 1.3 million square feet in under a year.
Turning to how current economic headwinds are impacting Piedmont’s leasing pipeline, Smith noted that the REIT has continued to see large tenants slow down their decision making process. However, Piedmont has continued to focus on its smaller tenants, where there’s been a strong pick up in leasing. “Being able to lean into that smaller tenant segment…will be our focus.”
Smith also said the REIT will continue to look to dispose of assets in 2023 because “in this environment, liquidity is paramount.”