American Assets Trust Seeing “Buoyant” Conditions in West Coast Office Markets

Ernest Rady, president and CEO of American Assets Trust (NYSE: AAT), participated in a video interview at Nareit’s REITweek: 2018 Investor Conference in New York.

Based in San Diego, American Assets Trust acquires, develops, refurbishes and manages a portfolio of retail, office and apartment properties.

First quarter office leasing showed a 12 percent uptick in rent. Rady explained that several office properties are in markets that are “very buoyant.” Leases that are expiring were signed several years ago and the economy has continued to prosper, he said. Seattle, in particular, has a strong leasing market, as does San Francisco. The San Diego market is also doing well, but not to same extent, he added.

Rady also commented on activity at the Waikele Center in Honolulu, a 43-acre site in a highly-developed area with half a mile of interstate frontage. American Assets Trust is working to finalize a lease with a national grocer to fill space at the center, and is also speaking with potential tenants to fill space vacated by Kmart.

“Until the grocer is finalized, we haven’t decided on which of the other tenants would make the best mix,” Rady said.

Meanwhile, Rady said the REIT is focused on improving its existing assets, as appropriate acquisition targets are limited.