On Apr 20, 2015, Piedmont Office Realty Trust Inc.PDM , the Johns Creek, GA-based real estate investment trust ("REIT"), announced leasing and capital market activities for first-quarter 2015. During the quarter, the company leased more than 817,000 square feet, which includes 336,000 square feet of currently vacant space.
Leasing deals involving space of more than 20,000 square feet signed during the quarter were: 2 deals in Washington, D.C., 3 in Chicago, IL, 2 in Atlanta, GA, 1 in Phoenix, AZ and 1 in Minneapolis, MN. Piedmont also completed two capital markets transactions in the first quarter of 2015.
Piedmont is engaged in acquisition, ownership, management and development of commercial real estate properties. Primarily focused on high-quality Class A office buildings located across major U.S. markets, the REIT mainly leases space to high-credit quality tenants.
Due to a rise in leasing activities, occupancy in the company's properties increased 110 basis points to 88.8% at the end of first-quarter 2015. Given the amount of leasing executed, Piedmont remains positive about further improvement in the overall occupancy level.
Additionally, Piedmont carried on with its goal of refining its asset portfolio. During the quarter, the company acquired one 177,844 square-feet property in Dallas, TX. It also sold a 120,107 square-feet property in Plano, TX. These transactions are in sync with the company's opportunistic capital-recycling plan of selling one non-core properties to fund a high-quality one.
Currently, Piedmont carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Investors interested in REITs may also consider stocks like Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. RHP , Gladstone Land Corp. LAND and Hudson Pacific Properties, Inc. HPP . All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).