Bill Hankowsky, chairman and CEO of Liberty Property Trust (NYSE: LPT), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2016: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge.
Liberty sold $1.3 billion of non-core real estate in 2016. The disposition allowed Liberty to complete its portfolio repositioning and become a national industrial REIT, Hankowsky said.
Liberty also did a significant amount of work on the balance sheet by paying off about $1 billion of debt and issuing $400 million in new debt, Hankowsky noted.
“We have a stronger balance sheet, a large industrial footprint and a portfolio we want in the markets we want,” he said.
Hankowsky said concerns in the business community over the impact of the presidential election will likely change as the direction of the new administration becomes clearer. He noted that a pro-business environment in the federal government is likely to be a boon for the industrial sector in 2017, as is the continued growth of e-commerce.
Other factors working in Liberty’s favor in the coming year include its $1.6 billion development pipeline - the largest in the company’s history, according to Hankowsky.