Easterly Government Properties Adjusting to Life as Public REIT

William Trimble, president and CEO of Easterly Government Properties (NYSE: DEA), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview during REITWeek 2015: NAREIT’s Investor Forum, held in New York.

Easterly acquires, develops and manages class-A commercial properties that are leased to government agencies primarily through the General Services Administration (GSA). The company focuses on newer, purpose-built space.  Its current portfolio contains 30 buildings, all of which are 100 percent leased.

In February, the company raised $207 million through an initial public offering (IPO). Trimble explained that prior to the IPO the company had raised two institutional private fund vehicles.

“We did a wonderful job of educating some great institutional investors during that time, but we felt we were beginning to educate our competitors,” Trimble said. At the same time, Easterly viewed the cost of capital available to a stock exchange-listed REIT as much more conducive to its strategy, and in 2014 the firm converted to REIT status.

Trimble also highlighted the benefits he sees within his company’s particular target market.

The federal government is the largest employer in the world and the largest office tenant in the United States, he noted.  Federal government tenants also tend to remain in their leased assets for about 40 years and renew about 94 percent of the time in the buildings that Easterly focuses on, according to Trimble.

“We think it’s a great way to get a lot of income and also have very strong credit behind it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Trimble said the management team at Easterly is a factor that sets it apart from its competitors.

He noted that Easterly’s management board includes a former commissioner of the Public Buildings Service of the GSA and another executive who ran national leasing activities for the GSA.

“Our people alone make an incredible difference in our ability to execute,” Trimble stated.