Dave Stockert, president and CEO of Post Properties (NYSE: PPS), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2014: NAREIT’s Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Post Properties is one of the largest developers and operators of upscale multifamily properties in the United States. Recently the company closed on the sale of its Post Luminaria and Post Toscana apartment communities in New York for a total gross sales price of $270 million. Stockert discussed the decision to leave the New York market.
“This was just a moment in time where we felt…we could achieve a valuation for those assets that we could never get if they stayed inside, wrapped up in the company,” Stockert explained. The assets were sold to a condominium converter at “a great price, so we’ll take that money and redeploy it,” he added.
Turning to the company’s finances, Stockert said Post’s balance sheet is in “the best shape it’s been in for probably 15 or 20 years.” The company’s leverage as a percentage of total capitalization, on a value basis, is about 25 percent, he said. At the same time, the company’s cash balance stands at approximately $160 million. “We’ll reinvest that money in our development pipeline principally, but also in some acquisitions that will help us shape the portfolio,” Stockert said.
Meanwhile, Stockert touched on some of the factors that make Atlanta a desirable home base for the company. He noted that Atlanta has always been a high-growth city, enjoying population and job growth that is about twice the national average. Furthermore, as a dominant transportation center, Atlanta is the hub for the Southeast’s economy, according to Stockert. Other advantages to the area include a low cost of living and an inviting business environment. “People want to be here,” he said.