Phil Hawkins, CEO of DCT Industrial Trust (NYSE: DCT), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview during REITWeek 2014: NAREIT’s Investor Forum, held in New York.
Hawkins said the company’s prospects for growth are helped by being at a “great time” in the market cycle. DCT Industrial hopes to push up both rents and occupancy rates to boost internal growth, according to Hawkins.
Additionally, Hawkins noted that the company is examining its development and “value-add investing activities.” He said the company has people in place to source off-market investment opportunities in which DCT Industrial can enhance the value of the assets.
Regarding the company’s efforts to reposition its portfolio, “the heavy lifting is done,” according to Hawkins.
“We’ve been fortunate to both deploy capital in a successful way and then fund that by the selling of assets that we considered non-strategic and lower-growth,” he said.
Hawkins pointed out that his company has attempted to channel its resources into fewer markets and focus on those with prospects for sustainable growth. Having accomplished that, Hawkins indicated that DCT Industrial is turning to an analysis of its portfolio on an asset-by-asset basis.
As DCT Industrial has pared down its portfolio, its local teams have taken on greater importance to the company’s success.
“The relationships that we build are local, the opportunities are local,” Hawkins said. “Certainly, being a national company is helpful. Having access to capital and a strong balance sheet are critical. But without the people on the ground, I don’t think we’d be making the best decisions in terms of rents, buying opportunities and development opportunities. Our people are actively in the market putting together opportunities, not just responding to them.”