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Whitestone Pursues Further Expansion

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Whitestone REIT (WSR - Free Report) recently announced the purchase of a bank note and deed on a 4.45 acre expansion parcel of a commercial land at The Pinnacle of Scottsdale. The deal for the commercial land was settled at $950,000 in cash at a discount of 68%. Whitestone intends to develop a new retail and executive office lease space, spanning 55,000 square feet, along with a fitness club, which it expects to begin pre-leasing in the first quarter of 2012.

This property, which is an extension of the already established and upscale-quality The Pinnacle of Scottsdale, has excellent opportunities for development owing to a large frontage on Scottsdate road.

Whitestone reported third quarter 2011 funds from operations (FFO) of 17 cents per share compared with 34 cents in the year-earlier quarter. Fund from operations, a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs, is obtained after adding depreciation and other non-cash expenses to net income.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Whitestone is a fully integrated real estate company that owns, operates and re-develops community centered properties, which are visibly located properties in established or developing culturally diverse neighborhoods.Whitestone has a diversified tenant base concentrated on service offerings including medical, education and casual dining.

Whitestone currently retains a Zacks #4 Rank, which translates into a short-term Sell rating. We are also maintaining our long-term Underperform recommendation on the stock. One of its competitors, General Growth Properties Inc. (GGP - Free Report) currently has a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating.

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