Weingarten Realty Investors Focuses on Tenant Diversification and Quality of Location

Drew Alexander, president and CEO of Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE: WRI), participated in a video interview at Nareit’s REITweek: 2018 Investor Conference in New York.

In the current climate of retail uncertainty, Alexander noted that Weingarten “prides itself on having the most diversified top tenant list in the space.”

“Diversification is the number one thing,” Alexander said. “The other thing that’s really important is the quality of location, because even through bankruptcy, a good location will prevail.”

Alexander said the company has a “very manageable” watch list of tenants and is “very comfortable with where the supply/demand is in retail these days.”

As for the outlook for acquisitions, Alexander said the company will continue to look for opportunities. “We certainly have the capital to do things, but the pricing that we’re seeing for good, quality properties is very, very aggressive. And at the same time, our stock is at a nice discount to its net asset value (NAV).”

Meanwhile, one way to deal with the risks of watch list tenants is to sell the center, Alexander said. He expects the company to continue to sell assets through the rest of the year. “If we can sell the lower half, lower quarter of the portfolio, at about NAV, when the stock is at a big discount to NAV, that just has to be a good thing for shareholders long term.”

Alexander also discussed the importance of Weingarten’s basic redevelopments juxtaposed with bigger projects, noting that it’s that mix that helps to create value for shareholders and casts the portfolio in a new light.