CEO Spotlight: PREIT Enhancing Shopping Experience, Coradino Says
11/26/2013 | by Mitch Irzinski

Joe Coradino, CEO of Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE: PEI), joined for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2013: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

Coradino talked about the different classes of tenants that his company is looking to add to its portfolio.

“We’re really looking to enhance the shopping experience,” he said. “We think restaurants and entertainment are key uses. Then, on an asset by asset basis, we may introduce non-retail uses that tend to round out the property. That could be an ambulatory care facility, a junior college in one instance – something that really makes the asset more part of the community.”

PREIT took steps to shore up the company’s balance sheet in 2013. Coradino described the effects of the effort.

“We’re pretty excited to be able to say our leverage is the lowest it’s been since 2005,” he said. “We sit below 50 percent, and we’ve come a long way in the last few years, but we’re not done. We think that continued strengthening of the balance sheet is important. I’d like to see the leverage continue to go down - we’ve set our goal at below 45 percent. Having said that, we find ourselves in an economic environment where equity and things of that nature will be difficult, so the solution may take a little bit more time than we’d like.”

Coradino also shared his opinion regarding the outlook for fundamentals in the mall sector in 2014.

“Obviously, sales have moderated over the past few quarters,” he said. “We feel like October was a stronger month. We all have a little anxiety about the holiday season. I remain guardedly optimistic that we’re going to have a good holiday season, and that will be another stepping stone. If one thinks about the economy that we’ve endured for the past few years, it’s sort of been a little bit like rock climbing – we need another place to hold. I think a good holiday season will mean a lot for our industry, and I’m looking forward to one.”