Christopher Benjamin, president and CEO of Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. (NYSE: ALEX), joined Nareit in New York for a video interview at REITweek: 2019 Investor Conference.
Benjamin said the biggest benefits that Alexander & Baldwin has seen since shifting its portfolio concentration to Hawaii have been its ability to invest more strategically and to manage its assets.
“The investment approach that we’re taking is far more strategic than it was when we were investing on the mainland,” he said. “We were generally seeking yield [and] seeking security. In Hawaii, we’re looking for strong assets that we believe we can add value to.”
Benjamin said that Alexander & Baldwin has had “tremendous performance” this year, noting that its same store NOI was up 7.7% in the first quarter. He thinks this growth is primarily because the REIT has been repositioning some of its recent acquisitions.
Benjamin also discussed the East Maui Watershed Partnership, Hawaii’s first private-public sector partnership to preserve the state’s watersheds. He said Alexander & Baldwin’s involvement as a founding member of the partnership relates to the REIT’s historic agricultural business, and that it’s “indicative of the long-term commitment that we’ve made to Hawaii and the long-term involvement we’ve had in the market.”