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Highwoods Properties Inc. ( HIW - Analyst Report ) , a real estate investment trust (REIT), has recently renewed its lease agreement with Horizon Ag LLC, a rice seed and agricultural technology company, for 3,700 square feet of space at Southwind Office Center in Memphis, Tennessee. Horizon Ag LLC is a joint venture of five large rice seed companies and operates as a vital link between public breeding systems and private technology providers.
The renewal of the lease signifies the inherent quality of Highwoods’ properties. The leased facility, spanning 62,000 square feet of space, is one of the leading Class-A office properties in Memphis and is strategically located in the heart of the city with a perfect gateway to the premier destinations of the region.
At the same time, Highwoods renewed and extended its lease with Strategic Behavioral Health, a privately-held organization that provides the highest quality of behavioral healthcare to patients and their families. With the deal, the lessee more than doubled its leased space at Southwind Office Center to 5,200 square feet.
Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, Highwoods owns and operates its properties through its wholly owned subsidiary, Highwoods Realty Limited Partnerships. The company has interests in office, industrial, retail and service center properties, including development projects and apartment units. It also provides customer-related and fee-based real estate management services for its properties and third-party clients.
As of December 31, 2010, Highwoods had interests in 330 in-service office, industrial holdings and retail properties, spanning across 32.4 million square feet of gross leasable space. In addition, it also owned 612 acres of developable land.
Currently, Highwoods is in the process of repositioning its portfolio to focus on stronger long-term markets and newer assets. A large part of the company’s portfolio is now concentrated in high-growth Sun Belt markets, such as Atlanta, Nashville and Tampa, which should exhibit above-average job growth due to long-term demographic trends.
We maintain our Neutral rating on Highwoods for the long term. The company presently has a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold recommendation. We also have a Neutral recommendation and a Zacks #3 Rank for Liberty Property Trust ( LRY - Analyst Report ) , one of the competitors of Highwoods.
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