Peter Baccile, president and CEO of First Industrial Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: FR), participated in a video interview during Nareit’s CEO Forum & Advocacy Day at The Hay-Adams hotel in Washington, D.C.
Baccile said that First Industrial’s 2018 year-end occupancy was 98.5 percent, the highest the REIT has experienced in its history, adding that it meets the demand for logistics real estate in different ways: moving tenants closer to expansion options, adding on to a building, or finding new sites to build.
Baccile said that while First Industrial has a history of joint venture and co-investment relationships, the REIT has been focused on its wholly owned portfolio since 2009.
“We’ve simplified our business since then, and we, at one point, had no joint ventures,” Baccile said. He noted though that the company did enter into one joint venture last year that “allows us to grow the company and to grow exposure in a market that we like (Phoenix).”
When asked about First Industrial’s projections for acquisitions, Baccile said that sector-wide in 2018, about $80 billion of industrial assets were sold in transactions totaling more than $5 million.
“[It’s] tough from our seat to figure what’s going to happen in 2019, but certainly the weight of capital looking to find a home in industrial continues to be significant, and so we would expect similar volumes,” he said.