Stuart Tanz, president and CEO of Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. (NYSE: ROIC), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview during REITWeek 2014: NAREIT’s Investor Forum, held in New York.
Tanz was asked about the level of competition in the transactions market and sourcing for potential acquisitions. With capital “readily available,” Tanz said competition for available assets has intensified, but he feels ROIC’s extended history on the West Coast has given the company an advantage.
“The fact that we’ve operated in these markets [for 25 years] gives us the ability through these deep relationships to find a lot of transactions off market, rather than on,” he said. “So it really is a competitive market, but for us, we’ve built our success on those relationships.”
As an example, Tanz pointed out the June acquisition of a $210 million property in Los Angeles that was done through an off-market transaction with General Growth Properties Inc. (NYSE: GGP).
In addition to finding the right acquisitions, Tanz also discussed the importance of finding the right tenant mix and concentration in a retail property. ROIC focuses on grocery-anchored shopping centers.
“The reason why we’ve only focused on that segment of the retail industry is because what we’ve seen after going through many recessions is that—good or bad times—people have to eat,” he said. “When we’ve watched sales at our centers through these good and bad times, there has been very little impact as it relates to the e-commerce threat. More importantly, [our properties cater] to the basic necessities of life.”
Lastly, Tanz discussed the importance of ROIC being added to the S&P Small Cap 600 Index in May. He said the inclusion will only help to strengthen and broaden the company’s investor base going forward.