REITs@50: Industry Reflections, Stanford Alexander of Weingarten Realty Investors

Consolidation is coming to the REIT industry in the future, according to Stanford Alexander, chairman of Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE: WRI).

A former NAREIT chair, Alexander sat down with at REITWorld 2010: NAREIT's Annual Convention for All Things REIT to discuss the insights on the commercial real estate industry that he has acquired during his nearly 60 years in the business.

Alexander predicted that larger REITs will eventually begin to take over smaller competitors as the industry grows. Doing so will boost companies' standing in the eyes of both investors and credit ratings agencies, he said.

Also, REITs have had a profound impact on the commercial real estate industry by enhancing companies' access to capital, according to Alexander.

"In my opinion, real estate companies that have elected public REIT status have transformed the industry overnight from an illiquid industry to a completely liquid industry," Alexander said. "I think that is the greatest change that this format has done for our industry."

Alexander said NAREIT's greatest accomplishment in its 50 years of existence has been providing a voice for the REIT industry on legislative matters in Washington. He also noted that NAREIT has helped promote the industry among the investing community. 

Weingarten primarily owns, operates and develops community shopping centers anchored by grocery stores and value retailers. The company also owns industrial properties. Overall, Weingarten's portfolio includes nearly 400 properties across the United States.

Alexander was appointed chairman and chief executive officer of Weingarten in 1997, and he stepped down as CEO at the end of 2000.

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