VICI Sees Pick-up in Demand for Experiential Real Estate Post-COVID

Ed Pitoniak, CEO of VICI Properties (NYSE: VICI), participated in a video interview in conjunction with Nareit’s REITweek: Virtual Investor Conference (held June 2-4).

Pitoniak said that although the pandemic has closed many public spaces, he doesn't envision customers being any less interested in experiential real estate post-COVID.

“In fact, we see the need and the desire for these experiences potentially being bigger than ever,” he said. “There’s an innate desire among people around the globe...to get out of the house [and] seek the experiences that really bring fulfillment to their lives.”

Turning specifically to Las Vegas, Pitoniak said VICI sees the city making a very strong comeback over time, noting that it has the infrastructure to bring back a large volume of tourists and also benefits from being within driving distance of California.

Pitoniak said VICI has been candid with its investors that it was uncertain when its assets would reopen.

“What we’ve also been able to do is give investors a great deal of assurance that VICI has a very strong liquidity position,” he added, noting the REIT has more than $300 million of cash on its balance sheet.

Pitoniak added that VICI’s operators are adapting to new standards required for reopening and that the REIT’s casinos were well-spaced to begin with, so social distancing, particularly in the early phases of reopening, will be easier to achieve.