ý ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018
¨ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from to
Commission file number 1-9876
Weingarten Realty Investors
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
2600 Citadel Plaza Drive, Suite 125
(Address of principal executive offices)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Shares of Beneficial Interest, $.03 par value
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.YESýNO¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.YES¨NOý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. YESýNO¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). YESýNO¨
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer ý
Accelerated filer ¨
Non-accelerated filer ¨
Smaller reporting company ¨
Emerging growth company ¨
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).YES¨NOý
The aggregate market value of the common shares of beneficial interest held by non-affiliates on June 29, 2018 (based upon the most recent closing sale price on the New York Stock Exchange as of such date of $30.81) was $3.7 billion.
As of February 15, 2019, there were 128,626,309 common shares of beneficial interest outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Registrant’s Proxy Statement relating to its Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on April 29, 2019 have been incorporated by reference to Part III of this Form 10-K.
This annual report on Form 10-K, together with other statements and information publicly disseminated by us, contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. We intend such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and include this statement for purposes of complying with those safe harbor provisions. Forward-looking statements, which are based on certain assumptions and describe our future plans, strategies and expectations, are generally identifiable by use of the words “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “project,” or similar expressions. You should not rely on forward-looking statements since they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which are, in some cases, beyond our control and which could materially affect actual results, performances or achievements. Factors which may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include, but are not limited to, (i) disruptions in financial markets, (ii) general economic and local real estate conditions, (iii) the inability of major tenants to continue paying their rent obligations due to bankruptcy, insolvency or general downturn in their business, (iv) financing risks, such as the inability to obtain equity, debt, or other sources of financing on favorable terms and changes in LIBOR availability, (v) changes in governmental laws and regulations, (vi) the level and volatility of interest rates, (vii) the availability of suitable acquisition opportunities, (viii) the ability to dispose of properties, (ix) changes in expected development activity, (x) increases in operating costs, (xi) tax matters, including the effect of changes in tax laws and the failure to qualify as a real estate investment trust, and (xii) investments through real estate joint ventures and partnerships, which involve risks not present in investments in which we are the sole investor. Accordingly, there is no assurance that our expectations will be realized. For further discussion of the factors that could materially affect the outcome of our forward-looking statements and our future results and financial condition, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors.”
ITEM 1. Business
General Development of Business. Weingarten Realty Investors is a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) organized under the Texas Business Organizations Code. We, and our predecessor entity, began the ownership of shopping centers and other commercial real estate in 1948. Our primary business is leasing space to tenants in the shopping centers we own or lease. We also provide property management services for which we charge fees to either joint ventures where we are partners or other outside owners.
See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included in Item 7 and the Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes thereto included in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, for information on certain recent developments of the Company.
Narrative Description of Business. We are in the business of owning, managing and developing retail shopping centers. At December 31, 2018, we owned or operated under long-term leases, either directly or through our interest in real estate joint ventures or partnerships, a total of 178 properties, which are located in 17 states spanning the country from coast to coast. The portfolio of properties contains approximately 35.1 million square feet of gross leasable area that is either owned by us or others. We also owned interests in 24 parcels of land held for development that totaled approximately 14.0 million square feet.
Investment and Operating Strategy. Our goal is to remain a leader in owning and operating top-tier neighborhood and community shopping centers in certain markets of the United States ("U.S."). We expect to achieve this goal by:
raising net asset value and cash flows through quality acquisitions, redevelopments and new developments;
focusing on core operating fundamentals through our decentralized operating platform built on local expertise in leasing and property management;
disciplined growth from strategic acquisitions, redevelopments and new developments;
disposition of assets that no longer meet our ownership criteria, in which proceeds may be recycled by repaying debt, purchasing new assets or reinvesting in currently owned assets or for other corporate purposes; and
commitment to maintaining a conservatively leveraged balance sheet, strong liquidity, a well-staggered debt maturity schedule and strong credit agency ratings.
We may either purchase, develop or lease income-producing properties in the future, and may also participate with other entities in property ownership through partnerships, joint ventures or similar types of co-ownership.
We may invest in mortgages; however, we have traditionally invested in first mortgages to real estate joint ventures or partnerships in which we own an equity interest or to obtain control over a real estate asset that we desire to own. We may also invest in securities of other issuers for the purpose, among others, of exercising control over such entities, subject to the gross income and asset tests necessary for REIT qualification.
In acquiring and developing properties, we attempt to accumulate enough properties in a geographic area to allow for the establishment of a regional office, which enables us to obtain in-depth knowledge of the market from a leasing perspective and to have easy access to the property and our tenants from a management viewpoint.
We expect to continue our focus on the future growth of the portfolio in neighborhood and community shopping centers in markets where we currently operate throughout the U.S. Our markets of interest reflect high income and job growth, as well as high barriers-to-entry. Our attention is also focused on high quality, supermarket-anchored and necessity-based centers, which may include mixed-use properties containing this type of retail component.
Diversification from both a geographic and tenancy perspective is a critical component of our operating strategy. Our largest markets are located in California, Florida and Texas, which represent 11.9%, 19.7% and 30.4%, respectively, of our total properties' gross leasable area. Total revenues generated by our centers located in Houston and its surrounding areas was 18.8% of total revenue for the year ended December 31, 2018, and an additional 8.7% of total revenue was generated in 2018 from centers that are located in other parts of Texas. An additional 20.4% and 17.2%, respectively, of total revenue was generated in 2018 in Florida and California. As of December 31, 2018, we also had 24 parcels of land held for development, five of which were located in Houston and its surrounding areas and 10 of which were located in other parts of Texas. Because of our investments in Texas, including Houston and its surrounding areas, Florida and California, these economies could affect our business and operations more so than in other geographic areas.
With respect to tenant diversification, our two largest tenants, The Kroger Co. and TJX Companies, Inc., accounted for 2.6% and 2.1%, respectively, of our total base minimum rental revenues for the year ended December 31, 2018. No other tenant accounted for more than 1.7% of our total base minimum rental revenues. Our anchor tenants are supermarkets, value-oriented apparel/discount stores and other retailers or service providers who generally sell basic necessity-type goods and services. We believe the stability of our anchor tenants, combined with convenient locations, attractive and well-maintained properties, high quality retailers and a strong tenant mix, should ensure the long-term success of our merchants and the viability of our portfolio.
Strategically, we strive to finance our growth and working capital needs in a conservative manner, including managing our debt maturities. Our senior debt credit ratings were BBB with a projected stable outlook from Standard & Poors and Baa1 with a projected stable outlook from Moody’s Investor Services as of December 31, 2018. We intend to maintain a conservative approach to managing our balance sheet, which, in turn, should give us many options for raising debt or equity capital when needed. At December 31, 2018 and 2017, our debt to total assets before depreciation ratio was 36.4% and 38.6%, respectively.
We have a $200 million share repurchase plan under which we may repurchase common shares of beneficial interest ("common shares") from time-to-time in open-market or privately negotiated purchases based on management's evaluation of market conditions and other factors. As of the date of this filing, $181.5 million of common shares remained available to be repurchased under the plan.
Our policies with respect to the investment and operating strategies discussed above are periodically reviewed by our Board of Trust Managers and may be modified without a vote of our shareholders.
Competition. We compete with numerous other developers and real estate companies (both public and private), financial institutions and other investors engaged in the development, acquisition and operation of shopping centers in our trade areas. This results in competition for the acquisition of both existing income-producing properties and prime development sites.
We also compete for tenants to occupy the space that is developed, acquired and managed by our competitors. The principal competitive factors in attracting tenants in our market areas are location, price, anchor tenants and maintenance of properties. We believe our key competitive advantages include the favorable locations of our properties, the strong demographics surrounding our centers, knowledge of markets and customer bases, our ability to provide a retailer with multiple locations with quality anchor tenants and the practice of continuous maintenance and renovation of our properties.
Qualification as a Real Estate Investment Trust. As of December 31, 2018, we met the qualification requirements of a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code, as amended. As a result, we will not be subject to federal income tax to the extent we meet certain requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, with the exception of our taxable REIT subsidiary.
Employees. At December 31, 2018, we employed 254 full-time persons; our principal executive offices are located at 2600 Citadel Plaza Drive, Houston, Texas 77008; and our phone number is (713) 866-6000. We also have nine regional offices located in various parts of the U.S. Management considers its relations with their personnel to be good.
Company Website and SEC Filings. Our website may be accessed at www.weingarten.com. We use the Investors section of our website as a channel for routine distribution of important information, including news releases, analyst presentations and financial information. All of our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") can be accessed, and we post filings as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC, including our annual, quarterly and current reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K, our proxy statements and any amendments to those reports or statements. All such postings and filings are available on our website free of charge. You may also view any materials we file with the SEC at the SEC’s Internet site at www.sec.gov.
Financial Information. Additional financial information concerning us is included in the Consolidated Financial Statements located in Item 8 herein.
ITEM 1A. Risk Factors
The risks described below could materially and adversely affect our shareholders and our results of operations, financial condition, liquidity and cash flows. In addition to these risks, our operations may also be affected by additional factors not presently known or that we currently consider immaterial to our operations.
Disruptions in the financial markets could affect our liquidity and have other adverse effects on us and the market price of our common shares of beneficial interest.
The U.S. and global equity and credit markets have experienced and may in the future experience significant price volatility, dislocations and liquidity disruptions, which could cause market prices of many stocks to fluctuate substantially and the spreads on prospective debt financings to widen considerably. These circumstances could materially impact liquidity in the financial markets, making terms for certain financings less attractive, and in certain cases result in the unavailability of certain types of financing. Uncertainties in the equity and credit markets may negatively impact our ability to access additional financing at reasonable terms or at all, which may negatively affect our ability to complete dispositions, form joint ventures or refinance our debt. A prolonged downturn in the equity or credit markets could cause us to seek alternative sources of potentially less attractive financing, and require us to adjust our business plan accordingly. In addition, these factors may make it more difficult for us to sell properties or adversely affect the price we receive for properties that we do sell, as prospective buyers may experience increased costs of financing or difficulties in obtaining financing. These events in the equity and credit markets may make it more difficult or costly for us to raise capital through the issuance of our common shares or preferred shares. These disruptions in the financial markets also may have a material adverse effect on the market value of our common shares and other adverse effects on us or the economy generally. There can be no assurances that government responses to any disruptions in the financial markets would restore consumer confidence, maintain stabilized markets or provide the availability of equity or credit financing.
Among the market conditions that may affect the value of our common shares and access to the capital markets are the following:
The attractiveness of REIT securities as compared to other securities, including securities issued by other real estate companies, fixed income equity securities and debt securities;
Changes in revenues or earnings estimates or publication of research reports and recommendations by financial analysts or actions taken by rating agencies with respect to our securities or those of other REITs;
The degree of interest held by institutional investors;
The market's perception of the quality of our assets and our growth potential;
The ability of our tenants to pay rent to us and meet their other obligations to us under current lease terms;
Our ability to re-lease space as leases expire;
Our ability to refinance our indebtedness as it matures;
Actual or anticipated quarterly fluctuations in our operating results and financial condition;
Any changes in our dividend policy;
Any future issuances of equity securities;
Strategic actions by us or our competitors, such as acquisitions or restructurings;
General market conditions and, in particular, developments related to market conditions for the real estate industry; and
Domestic and international economic and political factors unrelated to our performance.
The volatility in the stock market can create price and volume fluctuations that may not necessarily be comparable to operating performance.
The economic performance and value of our shopping centers depend on many factors, each of which could have an adverse impact on our cash flows and operating results.
The economic performance and value of our properties can be affected by many factors, including the following:
Changes in the national, regional and local economic climate;
Changes in existing laws and regulations, including environmental regulatory requirements including, but not limited to, legislation on global warming, trade reform, health care reform, employment laws and immigration laws;
Local conditions such as an oversupply of space or a reduction in demand for real estate in the area;
The attractiveness of the properties to tenants;
Competition from other available space;
Competition for our tenants from Internet sales and shifts in consumer shopping patterns;
Our tenant's ability to anticipate or revise their marketing and/or sales approach to meet changes in consumer shopping patterns;
Our ability to provide adequate management services and to maintain our properties;
Increased operating costs, if these costs cannot be passed through to tenants;
The cost of periodically renovating, repairing and releasing spaces;
The consequences of any armed conflict involving, or terrorist attack against, the U.S.;
Our ability to secure adequate insurance;
Fluctuations in interest rates;
Changes in real estate taxes and other expenses; and
Availability of financing on acceptable terms or at all.
Our properties consist primarily of neighborhood and community shopping centers and, therefore, our performance is linked to general economic conditions in the market for retail space. The market for retail space has been and could in the future be adversely affected by weakness in the national, regional and local economies where our properties are located, the adverse financial condition of some large retail companies, the ongoing consolidation in the retail sector, the excess amount of retail space in a number of markets and increasing consumer purchases through the Internet. To the extent that any of these conditions exist, they are likely to affect market rents for retail space. In addition, we may face challenges in the management and maintenance of the properties or encounter increased operating costs, such as real estate taxes, insurance and utilities, which may make our properties unattractive to tenants. A significant decrease in rental revenue and an inability to replace such revenues may adversely affect our profitability, the ability to meet debt and other financial obligations and pay dividends to shareholders.
We have properties that are geographically concentrated, and adverse economic or other conditions in that area could have a material adverse effect on us.
We are particularly susceptible to adverse economic or other conditions in markets where our properties are concentrated, including California, Florida and Texas. These adverse conditions include increases in unemployment, industry slowdowns, including declining oil prices, business layoffs or downsizing, decreases in consumer confidence, relocations of businesses, changes in demographics, increases in real estate and other taxes, increases in regulations, severe weather conditions and natural disasters, any of which could have an increased material adverse effect on us than if our portfolio was more geographically diverse.
Our acquisition activities may not produce the cash flows that we expect and may be limited by competitive pressures or other factors.
We intend to acquire existing commercial properties to the extent that suitable acquisitions can be made on advantageous terms. Acquisitions of commercial properties involve risks such as:
We may have difficulty identifying acquisition opportunities that fit our investment strategy;
Our estimates on expected occupancy and rental rates may differ from actual conditions;
Our estimates of the costs of any redevelopment or repositioning of acquired properties may prove to be inaccurate;
We may be unable to operate successfully in new markets where acquired properties are located, due to a lack of market knowledge or understanding of local economies;
We may be unable to successfully integrate new properties into our existing operations; or
We may have difficulty obtaining financing on acceptable terms or paying the operating expenses and debt service associated with acquired properties prior to sufficient occupancy.
In addition, we may not be in a position or have the opportunity in the future to make suitable property acquisitions on advantageous terms due to competition for such properties with others engaged in real estate investment. Our inability to successfully acquire new properties may have an adverse effect on our results of operations.
Turmoil in capital markets could adversely impact acquisition activities and pricing of real estate assets.
Volatility in the capital markets could impact the availability of debt financing due to numerous factors, including the tightening of underwriting standards by lenders and credit rating agencies. These factors directly affect a lender’s ability to provide debt financing as well as increase the cost of available debt financing. As a result, we may not be able to obtain debt financing on favorable terms or at all. This may result in future acquisitions generating lower overall economic returns, which may adversely affect our results of operations and dividends paid to shareholders. Furthermore, any turmoil in the capital markets could adversely impact the overall amount of capital available to invest in real estate, which may result in price or value decreases of real estate assets.
Our real estate assets may be subject to impairment charges.
Periodically, we assess whether there are any indicators that the value of our real estate assets, including any capitalized costs and any identifiable intangible assets, may be impaired. A property's value is impaired only if the estimate of the aggregate future undiscounted cash flows without interest charges to be generated by the property are less than the carrying value of the property. In estimating cash flows, we consider factors such as expected future income, trends and prospects, the effects of demand, competition and other factors. If we are evaluating the potential sale of an asset or development/redevelopment alternatives, the undiscounted future cash flows consider the most likely course of action at the balance sheet date based on current plans, intended holding periods and available market information. Determining whether a property is impaired and, if impaired, the amount of write-down to fair value requires a significant amount of judgment by management and is based on the best information available to management at the time of evaluation. If market conditions deteriorate or management’s plans for certain properties change, additional write-downs could be required in the future, and any future impairment could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations in the period in which the charge is taken.
Reduction of rental income would adversely affect our profitability, our ability to meet our debt obligations and our ability to pay dividends to our shareholders.
The substantial majority of our income is derived from rental income from real property. As a result, our performance depends on our ability to collect rent from tenants. Our income and funds to pay dividends would be negatively affected if a significant number of our tenants, or any of our major tenants (as discussed in more detail below):
Delay lease commencements;
Decline to extend or renew leases upon expiration;
Fail to make rental payments when due; or
Close stores or declare bankruptcy.
Any of these actions could result in the termination of the tenants’ lease and the loss of rental income attributable to the terminated leases. In addition, lease terminations by an anchor tenant or a failure by that anchor tenant to occupy the premises could also result in lease terminations or reductions in rent by other tenants in the same shopping center under the terms of some leases. In these events, we cannot be sure that any tenant whose lease expires will renew that lease or that we will be able to re-lease space on economically advantageous terms. Furthermore, certain costs remain fixed even though a property may not be fully occupied. The loss of rental revenues from a number of our tenants and our inability to replace such tenants, particularly in the case of a substantial tenant with leases in multiple locations, may adversely affect our profitability, our ability to meet debt and other financial obligations and our ability to pay dividends to the shareholders.
Adverse effects on the success and stability of our anchor tenants, could lead to reductions of rental income.
Our rental income could be adversely affected in the event of a downturn in the business, or the bankruptcy or insolvency of, any anchor store or anchor tenant. Anchor tenants generally occupy large amounts of square footage, pay a significant portion of the total rents at a property and contribute to the success of other tenants by drawing significant numbers of customers to a property. The closing of one or more anchor stores at a property could adversely affect that property and result in lease terminations or reductions in rent from other tenants, whose leases may permit termination or rent reduction in those circumstances or whose own operations may suffer as a result. Furthermore, tenant demand for certain of our anchor spaces may decrease, and as a result, we may see an increase in vacancy and/or a decrease in rents for those spaces, which could have a negative impact to our rental income.
Adverse effects resulting from a shift in retail shopping from brick and mortar stores to online shopping may impact our operating results.
Online sales for many retailers has become a fundamental part of their business in addition to operating brick and mortar stores. Additionally, online sales from companies without physical stores has increased significantly. Although many of the retailers operating in our properties sell groceries, value-oriented apparel and other necessity-based type goods or provide services, including entertainment and dining, the shift to online shopping may cause certain of our tenants to reduce the size or number of their retail locations in the future. As a result, this could negatively affect our ability to lease space and our operating results.
We face significant competition in the leasing market, which may decrease or prevent increases in the occupancy and rental rates of our properties.
We compete with numerous developers, owners and operators of retail properties, many of which own properties similar to, and in the same market sectors as, our properties. If our competitors offer space at rental rates below current market rates, or below the rental rates we currently charge our tenants, we may lose existing or potential tenants, or we may be forced to reduce rental rates in order to attract new tenants and retain existing tenants when their leases expire.
Also, if our competitors develop additional retail properties in locations near our properties, there may be increased competition for customer traffic and creditworthy tenants, which may result in fewer tenants or decreased cash flows from tenants, or both, and may require us to make capital improvements to properties that we would not have otherwise made. Our tenants also face increasing competition from other forms of marketing of goods, such as direct mail and Internet marketing, which may decrease cash flow from such tenants. As a result, our financial condition and our ability to pay dividends to our shareholders may be adversely affected.
We may be unable to collect balances due from tenants in bankruptcy.
A tenant that files for bankruptcy protection may not continue to pay us rent. A bankruptcy filing by or relating to one of our tenants or a lease guarantor would bar all efforts by us to collect pre-bankruptcy debts from the tenant or the lease guarantor, or their property, unless the bankruptcy court permits us to do so. A tenant or lease guarantor bankruptcy could delay our efforts to collect past due balances under the relevant leases and could ultimately preclude collection of these sums. If a lease is rejected by a tenant in bankruptcy, we would have only a general unsecured claim for damages. As a result, it is likely that we would recover substantially less than the full value of any unsecured claims it holds, if at all.
Our development, redevelopment and construction activities could adversely affect our operating results.
We intend to continue the selective development, redevelopment and construction of retail and/or mixed use properties in accordance with our development and underwriting policies as opportunities arise. Our development, redevelopment and construction activities include risks that:
We may abandon development opportunities after expending resources to determine feasibility;
Construction costs of a project may exceed our original estimates;
Occupancy rates and rents at a newly completed or redeveloped property may not be sufficient to make the property profitable;
Rental rates could be less than projected;
Delivery of multi-family units into uncertain residential environments may result in lower rents, sale price or take longer periods of time to reach economic stabilization;
Project completion may be delayed because of a number of factors, including weather, labor disruptions, construction delays or delays in receipt of zoning or other regulatory approvals, adverse economic conditions, acts of terror or other acts of violence, or acts of God (such as fires, earthquakes or floods);
Financing may not be available to us on favorable terms for development or redevelopment of a property; and
We may not complete construction and lease-up on schedule, resulting in increased debt service expense and construction costs.
Additionally, the time frame required for development, redevelopment, construction and lease-up of these properties means that we may have to wait years for a significant cash return. If any of the above events occur, the development and redevelopment of properties may hinder our growth and have an adverse effect on our results of operations, including additional impairment charges. Also, new development activities, regardless of whether or not they are ultimately successful, typically require substantial time and attention from management.
There is a lack of operating history with respect to any recent acquisitions and redevelopment or development of properties, and we may not succeed in the integration or management of additional properties.
These properties may have characteristics or deficiencies currently unknown to us that affect their value or revenue potential. It is also possible that the operating performance of these properties may decline under our management. We also may not have the experience in developing and managing mixed-use properties and may need to rely on external resources which may not perform as we expected. As we acquire additional properties, we will be subject to risks associated with managing new properties, including lease-up and tenant retention. In addition, our ability to manage our growth effectively will require us to successfully integrate any new acquisitions into our existing management structure. We may not succeed with this integration or effectively manage additional properties. Also, newly acquired properties may not perform as expected.
Real estate property investments are illiquid, and therefore, we may not be able to dispose of properties when desirable or on favorable terms.
Real estate property investments generally cannot be disposed of quickly. In addition, the Internal Revenue Code imposes restrictions on the ability of a REIT to dispose of properties that are not applicable to other types of real estate companies. Our ability to dispose of properties on advantageous terms depends on factors beyond our control, including competition from other sellers and the availability of attractive financing for potential buyers of our properties. We cannot predict the various market conditions affecting real estate investments that will exist at any particular time in the future. Therefore, we may not be able to quickly vary our portfolio in response to economic or other conditions promptly or on favorable terms, which could cause us to incur extended losses and reduce our cash flows and adversely affect dividends paid to shareholders.
As part of our capital recycling program, we intend to sell our non-core assets and may not be able to recover our investments, which may result in losses to us.
There can be no assurance that we will be able to recover the current carrying amount of all of our owned and partially owned non-core properties and investments in the future. Our failure to do so would require us to recognize impairment charges in the period in which we reached that conclusion, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
Credit ratings may not reflect all the risks of an investment in our debt or equity securities and rating changes could adversely effect our revolving credit facility.
Our credit ratings are an assessment by rating agencies of our ability to pay our debts when due. Consequently, real or anticipated changes in our credit ratings will generally affect the market value of our debt. Credit ratings may be revised or withdrawn at any time by the rating agency at its sole discretion. Additionally, our revolving credit facility fees are based on our credit ratings. We do not undertake any obligation to maintain the ratings or to advise holders of our debt of any change in ratings. Each agency's rating should be evaluated independently of any other agency's rating.
There can be no assurance that we will be able to maintain our current credit ratings. Adverse changes in our credit ratings could impair our ability to obtain additional debt and equity financing on favorable terms, if at all, and could significantly reduce the market price of our publicly-traded securities.
Our cash flows and operating results could be adversely affected by required payments of debt or related interest and other risks of our debt financing.
We are generally subject to risks associated with debt financing. These risks include:
Our cash flow may not satisfy required payments of principal and interest;
We may not be able to refinance existing indebtedness on our properties as necessary or the terms of the refinancing may be less favorable to us than the terms of existing debt;
Required debt payments are not reduced if the economic performance of any property declines;
Debt service obligations could reduce funds available for dividends to our shareholders and funds available for capital investment;
Any default on our indebtedness could result in acceleration of those obligations and possible loss of property to foreclosure; and
The risk that capital expenditures necessary for purposes such as re-leasing space cannot be financed on favorable terms.
If a property is mortgaged to secure payment of indebtedness and we cannot make the mortgage payments, we may have to surrender the property to the lender with a consequent loss of any prospective income and equity value from such property. Any of these risks can place strains on our cash flows, reduce our ability to grow and adversely affect our results of operations.
We may be adversely affected by changes in LIBOR reporting practices or the method in which LIBOR is determined.
As of December 31, 2018, we had outstanding approximately $22.7 million of debt that was indexed to the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). Central banks around the world, including the Federal Reserve, have commissioned working groups of market participants and official sector representatives with the goal of finding suitable replacements for LIBOR based on observable market transactions. It is expected that a transition away from the widespread use of LIBOR to alternative rates will occur over the course of the next few years. The United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (the authority that regulates LIBOR) announced it intends to stop compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021.
Accordingly, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the publication of such rates beyond 2021. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and various other authorities have commenced the publication of reforms and actions relating to alternatives to United States dollar LIBOR (“USD-LIBOR”). The Alternative Reference Rates Committee ("ARRC") has proposed that the Secured Overnight Financing Rate ("SOFR") is the rate that represents best practice in the United States as the alternative to LIBOR for use in derivatives and other financial contracts that are currently indexed to USD-LIBOR. ARRC has proposed a paced market transition plan to SOFR from LIBOR, and organizations are currently working on industry wide and company specific transition plans as it relates to derivatives and cash markets exposed to USD-LIBOR rates. Although the full impact of such reforms and actions, together with any transition away from LIBOR, including the potential or actual discontinuance of LIBOR publication, remains unclear, these changes may have a material adverse impact on the availability of financing, including LIBOR-based loans, and on our financing costs.
Rising interest rates could increase our borrowing costs, thereby adversely affecting our cash flows and the amounts available for dividends to our shareholders, and decrease our share price, if investors seek higher yields through other investments.
We have indebtedness with interest rates that vary depending on market indices. Also, our credit facilities bear interest at variable rates. We may incur variable-rate debt in the future. Increases in interest rates on variable-rate debt would increase our interest expense, which would negatively affect net income and cash available for payment of our debt obligations and dividends to shareholders. In addition, an increase in interest rates could adversely affect the market value of our outstanding debt, as well as increase the cost of refinancing and the issuance of new debt or securities. An environment of rising interest rates could also lead holders of our securities to seek higher yields through other investments, which could adversely affect the market price of our shares. One of the factors which may influence the price of our shares in public markets is the annual dividend rate we pay as compared with the yields on alternative investments.
Our financial condition could be adversely affected by financial covenants.
Our credit facilities and public debt indentures under which our indebtedness is, or may be, issued contain certain financial and operating covenants, including, among other things, certain coverage ratios, as well as limitations on our ability to incur secured and unsecured indebtedness, restrictions on our ability to sell all or substantially all of our assets and engage in mergers and consolidations and certain acquisitions. These covenants could limit our ability to obtain additional funds needed to address cash shortfalls or pursue growth opportunities or transactions that would provide substantial return to our shareholders. In addition, a breach of these covenants could cause a default under or accelerate some or all of our indebtedness, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.
Property ownership through real estate partnerships and joint ventures could limit our control of those investments and reduce our expected return.
Real estate partnership or joint venture investments may involve risks not otherwise present for investments made solely by us, including the possibility that our partner or co-venturer might become bankrupt, that our partner or co-venturer might at any time have different interests or goals than us, and that our partner or co-venturer may take action contrary to our instructions, requests, policies or objectives. Other risks of joint venture investments could include impasse on decisions, such as a sale or refinance, because neither our partner or co-venturer nor we would have full control over the partnership or joint venture. These factors could limit the return that we receive from those investments or cause our cash flows to be lower than our estimates.
Volatility in market and economic conditions may impact our partners’ ability to perform in accordance with our real estate joint venture and partnership agreements resulting in a change in control or the liquidation plans of its underlying properties.
Changes in control of our investments could result if any reconsideration events occur, such as amendments to our real estate joint venture and partnership agreements, changes in debt guarantees or changes in ownership due to required capital contributions. Any changes in control will result in the revaluation of our investments to fair value, which could lead to an impairment. We are unable to predict whether, or to what extent, a change in control may result or the impact of adverse market and economic conditions may have to our partners.
If we fail to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year, we will be subject to U.S. federal income tax as a regular corporation and could have significant tax liability.
We intend to operate in a manner that allows us to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. However, REIT qualification requires us to satisfy numerous requirements (some on an annual or quarterly basis) established under highly technical and complex provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, for which there are a limited number of judicial or administrative interpretations. Our status as a REIT requires an analysis of various factual matters and circumstances that are not entirely within our control. Accordingly, it is not certain we will be able to qualify and remain qualified as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Even a technical or inadvertent violation of the REIT requirements could jeopardize our REIT qualification. If we fail to qualify as a REIT in any tax year, then:
We would be taxed as a regular domestic corporation, which, among other things, means that we would be unable to deduct dividends paid to our shareholders in computing our taxable income and would be subject to U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates;
Any resulting tax liability could be substantial and would reduce the amount of cash available for dividends to shareholders, and could force us to liquidate assets or take other actions that could have a detrimental effect on our operating results; and
Unless we were entitled to relief under applicable statutory provisions, we would be disqualified from treatment as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which we lost our qualification, and our cash available for dividends to our shareholders would, therefore, be reduced for each of the years in which we do not qualify as a REIT.
Even if we remain qualified as a REIT, we may face other tax liabilities that reduce our cash flow. We may also be subject to certain U.S. federal, state and local taxes on our income and property either directly or at the level of our subsidiaries. Any of these taxes would decrease cash available for dividends to our shareholders.
Tax laws have changed and may continue to change at any time, and any such legislative or other actions could have a negative effect on us.
As most recently experienced in connection with the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 ("Tax Act") on December 22, 2017, tax laws remain under constant review by persons involved in the legislative process, at the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and by various state and local tax authorities. Changes to tax laws, regulations, or administrative interpretations, which may be applied retroactively, could adversely affect us in a number of additional ways, including making it more difficult or more costly for us to qualify as a REIT or decreasing real estate values generally.
We cannot predict whether, when, in what forms, or with what effective dates, the tax laws, regulations, and administrative interpretations applicable to us or our shareholders may be further changed.
Compliance with REIT requirements may negatively affect our operating decisions.
To maintain our status as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we must meet certain requirements, on an ongoing basis, including requirements regarding our sources of income, the nature and diversification of our assets, the amounts we distribute to our shareholders and the ownership of our common shares. We may also be required to pay dividends to our shareholders when we do not have funds readily available for distribution or at times when our funds are otherwise needed to fund capital expenditures or debt service obligations.
As a REIT, we must distribute at least 90% of our annual net taxable income (excluding net capital gains) to our shareholders. To the extent that we satisfy this distribution requirement, but distribute less than 100% of our net taxable income, we will be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax on our undistributed taxable income. From time to time, we may generate taxable income greater than our income for financial reporting purposes, or our net taxable income may be greater than our cash flow available for distribution to our shareholders. If we do not have other funds available in these situations, we could be required to borrow funds, sell a portion of our securities at unfavorable prices or find other sources of funds in order to meet the REIT distribution requirements.
Our common shares dividend policy may change in the future.
The timing, amount and composition of any future dividends to our common shareholders will be at the sole discretion of our Board of Trust Managers and will depend upon a variety of factors as to which no assurance can be given. Our ability to make dividends to our common shareholders depends, in part, upon our operating results, overall financial condition, the performance of our portfolio (including occupancy levels and rental rates), our capital requirements, access to capital, our ability to qualify for taxation as a REIT and general business and market conditions. Any change in our dividend policy could have an adverse effect on the market price of our common shares.
Our declaration of trust contains certain limitations associated with share ownership.
To maintain our status as a REIT, our declaration of trust prohibits any individual from owning more than 9.8% of our outstanding common shares. This restriction is likely to discourage third parties from acquiring control without the consent of our Board of Trust Managers, even if a change in control were in the best interests of our shareholders.
Also, our declaration of trust requires the approval of the holders of 80% of our outstanding common shares and the approval by not less than 50% of the outstanding common shares not owned by any related person (a person owning more than 50% of our common shares) to consummate a business transaction such as a merger. There are certain exceptions to this requirement; however, the 80% approval requirement could make it difficult for us to consummate a business transaction even if it is in the best interests of our shareholders.
There may be future dilution of our common shares.
Our declaration of trust authorizes our Board of Trust Managers to, among other things, issue additional common or preferred shares or securities convertible or exchangeable into equity securities, without shareholder approval. We may issue such additional equity or convertible securities to raise additional capital. The issuance of any additional common or preferred shares or convertible securities could be substantially dilutive to holders of our common shares. Moreover, to the extent that we issue restricted shares, options, or warrants to purchase our common shares in the future and those options or warrants are exercised or the restricted shares vest, our shareholders may experience further dilution. Holders of our common shares have no preemptive rights that entitle them to purchase a pro rata share of any offering of shares of any class or series and, therefore, such sales or offerings could result in increased dilution to our shareholders.
We may issue debt and equity securities or securities convertible into equity securities, any of which may be senior to our common shares as to distributions and in liquidation, which could negatively affect the value of our common shares.
In the future, we may attempt to increase our capital resources by entering into unsecured or secured debt or debt-like financings, or by issuing additional debt or equity securities, which could include issuances of medium-term notes, senior notes, subordinated notes, secured debt, guarantees, preferred shares, hybrid securities, or securities convertible into or exchangeable for equity securities. In the event of our liquidation, our lenders and holders of our debt and, if any, preferred securities would receive distributions of our available assets before distributions to the holders of our common shares. Because any decision to incur debt and issue securities in future offerings may be influenced by market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing, or nature of our future financings. Further, market conditions could require us to accept less favorable terms for the issuance of our securities in the future.
Our declaration of trust contains certain limitations that make removal of our Trust Managers difficult, which could limit our shareholders ability to effect changes to our management.
Our declaration of trust provides that a Trust Manager may only be removed for cause upon the affirmative vote of holders of two-thirds of the total votes authorized to be cast by shares outstanding and entitled to be voted. Vacancies may be filled by either a majority of the remaining Trust Managers or elected by the vote of holders of at least two-thirds of the outstanding shares at the Annual Meeting or a special meeting of the shareholders. These requirements provide limitations to make changes in our management by removing and replacing Trust Managers and may prevent a change of control that is in the best interests of our shareholders.
Loss of our key personnel could adversely affect the value of our common shares and operations.
We are dependent on the efforts of our key executive personnel. A significant number of persons in our management group are eligible for retirement. Although we believe qualified replacements could be found for these key executives and other members of our management group, the loss of their services could adversely affect the value of our common shares and operations.
Changes in accounting standards may adversely impact our reported financial condition and results of operations.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”), in conjunction with the SEC, continually engages in projects to evaluate additions or changes to current accounting standards which could impact how we currently account for our material transactions. We believe that these and other potential proposals could have varying degrees of impact on us ranging from minimal to material. At this time, we are unable to predict with certainty which, if any, proposals may be passed or what level of impact any such proposal could have on us, except as disclosed in Item 8.
We could be subject to litigation that may negatively impact our cash flows, financial condition and results of operations.
From time to time, we may be a defendant in lawsuits and regulatory proceedings relating to our business. Due to the inherent uncertainties of litigation and regulatory proceedings, we cannot accurately predict the ultimate outcome of any such litigation or proceedings. We could experience a negative impact to our cash flows, financial condition and results of operations due to an unfavorable outcome.
Compliance with certain laws and governmental rules and regulations may require us to make unintended expenditures that adversely affect our cash flows.
All of our properties are required to comply with certain laws and governmental rules and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, fire and safety regulations, building codes and other land use regulations, as they may be in effect or adopted by governmental agencies and bodies and become applicable to our properties. We may be required to make substantial capital expenditures to comply with those requirements, and these expenditures could have a material adverse effect on our ability to meet the financial obligations and pay dividends to our shareholders.
An uninsured loss or a loss that exceeds the policies on our properties could subject us to lost capital or revenue on those properties.
Under the terms and conditions of the leases currently in force on our properties, tenants generally are required to indemnify and hold us harmless from liabilities resulting from injury to persons, air, water, land or property, on or off the premises, due to activities conducted on the properties, except for claims arising from our negligence or intentional misconduct or that of our agents. Tenants are generally required, at the tenant’s expense, to obtain and keep in full force during the term of the lease, liability and tenant's property damage insurance policies. We have obtained comprehensive liability, casualty, property, flood, earthquake, environmental and rental loss insurance policies on our properties. All of these policies may involve substantial deductibles and certain exclusions. In addition, we cannot assure the shareholders that the tenants will properly maintain their insurance policies or have the ability to pay the deductibles. Should a loss occur that is uninsured or in an amount exceeding the combined aggregate limits for the policies noted above, or in the event of a loss that is subject to a substantial deductible under an insurance policy, we could lose all or part of our capital invested in, and anticipated revenue from, one or more of the properties, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition, as well as our ability to pay dividends to the shareholders.
We may be subject to liability under environmental laws, ordinances and regulations.
Under various federal, state and local laws, ordinances and regulations, we may be considered an owner or operator of real property or have arranged for the disposal or treatment of hazardous or toxic substances. As a result, we may become liable for the costs of disposal or treatment of hazardous or toxic substances released on or in our property. We may also be liable for certain other potential costs that could relate to hazardous or toxic substances (including governmental fines and injuries to persons and property). We may incur such liability whether or not we knew of, or were responsible for, the presence of such hazardous or toxic substances.
Natural disasters and severe weather conditions could have an adverse effect on our cash flow and operating results.
Changing weather patterns and climatic conditions, such as global warming, may have added to the unpredictability and frequency of natural disasters in some parts of the world and created additional uncertainty as to future trends and exposures. Our operations are located in many areas that have experienced and may in the future experience natural disasters and severe weather conditions such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts, floods and fires. The occurrence of natural disasters or severe weather conditions can delay new development and redevelopment projects, increase investment costs to repair or replace damaged properties, increase future property insurance costs, and negatively impact the tenant demand for lease space. Additionally, these weather conditions may also disrupt our tenants business, which could affect the ability of some tenants to pay rent and may reduce the willingness of residents to remain in or move to the affected area. Intense weather conditions during the last decade have caused our cost of property insurance to increase significantly. If insurance is unavailable to us or is unavailable on acceptable terms, or if our insurance is not adequate to cover business interruption or losses from these events, our earnings, liquidity or capital resources could be adversely affected.
Our business and operations would suffer in the event of system failures.
Despite the implementation of security measures and the existence of a disaster recovery and business continuity plans for our internal information technology systems, our systems are vulnerable to damages from any number of sources, including computer viruses, unauthorized access, energy blackouts, natural disasters, terrorism, war and telecommunication failures. Any system failure or accident that causes interruptions in our operations could result in a material disruption to our business. We may also incur additional costs to remedy damages caused by such disruptions.
We face risks relating to cybersecurity attacks, loss of confidential information and other business disruptions.
Our business is at risk from and may be impacted by cybersecurity attacks, including attempts to gain unauthorized access to our confidential data and other electronic security breaches. Such cybersecurity attacks can range from individual attempts to gain unauthorized access to our information technology systems to more sophisticated security threats. In addition to our own information technology systems, third parties have been engaged to provide information technology services relating to several key business functions, such as payroll, human resources, electronic communications and certain finance functions. While we and such third parties employ a number of measures to prevent, detect and mitigate these threats including a defense in depth strategy of firewalls, intrusion sensors, malware detection, password protection, backup servers, user training and periodic penetration testing, there is no guarantee such efforts will be successful in preventing a cybersecurity attack. As our reliance on technology has increased, so have the risks posed to our systems, both internal and those we have outsourced. Cybersecurity incidents could compromise the confidential information of our tenants, employees and third-party vendors and disrupt and affect the efficiency of our business operations.
At December 31, 2018, we owned or operated under long-term leases, either directly or through our interest in real estate joint ventures or partnerships, a total of 178 centers, primarily neighborhood, community and power shopping centers, which are located in 17 states spanning the country from coast to coast with approximately 35.1 million square feet of gross leasable area. Our centers are located principally in the South, West Coast and Southeast Coast of the U.S. with concentrations in California, Florida, and Texas. We also owned interests in 24 parcels of land that totaled approximately 14.0 million square feet at December 31, 2018 of which approximately 13.8 million square feet of land may be used for new development or sold, and the remaining is adjacent to our existing operating centers, which may be used for expansion of those centers.
In 2018, no single center accounted for more than 7.5% of our total assets or 3.7% of base minimum rental revenues. The five largest centers, in the aggregate, represented approximately 12% of our base minimum rental revenues for the year ended December 31, 2018; otherwise, none of the remaining centers accounted for more than 1.8% of our base minimum rental revenues during the same period.
Our centers are designed to attract local area customers and are typically anchored by a supermarket or other national tenants (such as Kroger, HEB or T.J. Maxx). The centers are primarily neighborhood and community shopping centers that often include discounters, value-oriented retailers and specialty grocers as additional anchors or tenants, and typically range in size from 50,000 to 600,000 square feet of building area. Very few of the centers have climate-controlled common areas, but are designed to allow retail customers to park their automobiles in close proximity to any retailer in the center. Our centers are customarily constructed of masonry, steel and glass, and all have lighted, paved parking areas, which are typically landscaped with berms, trees and shrubs. They are generally located at major intersections in close proximity to neighborhoods that have existing populations sufficient to support retail activities of the types conducted in our centers.
We actively embrace various initiatives that support the future of environmentally friendly shopping centers. Our primary areas of focus include energy efficiency, waste recycling, water conservation and construction/development best practices. We recognize there are economic, environmental and social implications associated with the full range of our sustainability efforts, and that a commitment to incorporating sustainable practices will add long-term value to our centers.
As of December 31, 2018, the weighted average occupancy rate for our centers was 94.4% compared to 94.8% as of December 31, 2017. The average base rent per square foot was approximately $19.35 in 2018, $18.69 in 2017, $17.93 in 2016, $16.92 in 2015 and $16.24 in 2014 for our centers.
We have approximately 4,000 separate leases with 3,000 different tenants. Included among our top revenue-producing tenants are: The Kroger Co., TJX Companies, Inc., Whole Foods Market, Inc., Ross Stores, Inc., H-E-B Grocery Company, LP, PetSmart, Inc., Albertsons Companies, Inc., 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, Inc., Home Depot, Inc., and Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc. The diversity of our tenant base is also evidenced by the fact that our largest tenant, The Kroger Co., accounted for only 2.6% of base minimum rental revenues during 2018.
As of December 31, 2018, lease expirations for the next 10 years, assuming tenants do not exercise renewal options, are as follows:
Annual Rent of Expiring Leases
At December 31, 2018, we had four projects in various stages of development that were partially or wholly owned. We have funded $246.6 million through December 31, 2018 on these projects. We estimate our aggregate net investment upon completion to be $512.5 million. These projects are forecasted to have an average stabilized return on investment of approximately 5.6% when completed. Effective January 1, 2019, we stabilized the development in Seattle, Washington, moving it to our operating property portfolio, which added 63,000 square feet to the portfolio at an estimated cost per square foot of $490.
Upon completion, the estimated costs and square footage to be added to the portfolio for the remaining three projects are as follows:
Centro Arlington (2)
The Driscoll at River Oaks
Current net estimated costs represents WRI's share of capital expenditures net of any forecasted sales of land pads.
Represents an unconsolidated joint venture where we have funded $73.4 million as of December 31, 2018, and we anticipate funding an additional $57 million through 2020.
The following table is a list of centers, summarized by state and includes our share of both consolidated and unconsolidated real estate partnerships and joint ventures as of December 31, 2018:
ALL PROPERTIES BY STATE
GLA includes 4.4 million square feet of our partners’ ownership interest in these properties and 7.8 million square feet not owned or managed by us. Additionally, encumbrances on our properties total $.3 billion. See Schedule III for additional information.
The following table is a detailed list of centers by state and includes our share of both consolidated and unconsolidated real estate partnerships and joint ventures as of December 31, 2018: