David Helfand, president and CEO of Equity Commonwealth (NYSE: EQC), participated in a video interview at Nareit’s REITworld: 2018 Annual Conference in San Francisco.
Helfand discussed Equity Commonwealth’s recent disposal of approximately $1 billion in assets as part of its overall portfolio restructuring.
“We basically sold what we thought were the least desirable assets, and we’ve left the best assets,” he said. The current “higher-quality” portfolio is focused in Austin, Boston, Denver, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Bellevue, Washington.
Helfand said the company has sold just over $6 billion in assets since 2014, going from 156 properties to 11. The company has also been relieved of $3 billion in liabilities. With $3 billion in cash on hand, he says the REIT is looking to invest thoughtfully on a risk-adjusted basis.
Helfand said that Equity Commonwealth is focused on taking the assets it has and “creating value through entrepreneurial leasing [and] creative asset management.” He added that operating fundamentals across the REIT’s core markets remain favorable.