Stephen Budorick, president and CEO of Corporate Office Properties Trust (NYSE: OFC), participated in a video interview at Nareit’s REITworld: 2019 Annual Conference in Los Angeles.
Budorick said COPT tells investors that after a defense budget is passed and appropriated, the REIT’s demand materializes 12 to 18 months later. As a result, in 2019, the REIT was setting records in every category that it measures for leasing, including development and government leasing within its operating portfolio. He also said COPT was on track to beat its all-time government leasing and operating leasing records.
Budorick said COPT is seeing the most activity across its portfolio in the Navy Support Portfolio, which was a disproportionately strong recovery since the Navy was hit hard during the spending downturn, and in Huntsville, Alabama.
“Our demand [in Huntsville] has been extraordinary,” he said. “We’re building 700,000 square feet…we expect to have it all leased [in 2019].”
Budorick added that the REIT spent a little more than $400 million in development in 2019, almost twice what its normal run rate would be. To fund that, COPT more than doubled its asset sales last year, he said.