Another Divestiture by Mack-Cali - Analyst Blog

By Zacks | July 03, 2013 AAA

Mack-Cali Realty Corporation (CLI) recently disposed a commercial office property in Connecticut. The deal helped the real estate investment trust (REIT) to gain about $16.5 million, which it aims to redeploy for other strategic growth prospects.

The Connecticut property located at 40 Richards Avenue in Norwalk is a 7-story building and spans 145,487 square-feet. It was sold to The Davis Companies. With an occupancy level of just 64%, the vending of this property marks a strategic fit.

As a matter of fact, declining occupancies and average asking rents are plausible concerns for Mack-Cali due to the tough office market environment in many states. Hence, amid the unimpressive demand for office space at present, Mack-Cali has been focusing on expanding its multifamily apartment portfolio.

In the recent past, Mack-Cali sold a NJ-based property – situated in Branchburg in Somerset County – for around $6.2 million. Moreover, it divested 2 of its Pa.-based office buildings – 16 and 18 Sentry Park West – for about $19.3 million.

Additionally, the company divested a Clifton-based office building to a joint venture (JV) of Gottesman Real Estate Partners and Mountain Development Corp. (MDC) for $5.8 million. It also sold a Little Ferry-based asset – Mack-Cali Airport property – for approximately $32.3 million.

At the same time, Mack-Cali has been inking various acquisition deals to expand its multifamily apartment portfolio. Among the recent acquisitions, Alterra IA and Alterra IB at Overlook Ridge in Metro Boston are noteworthy. Mack-Cali acquired the properties from a JV of Prudential Insurance Company of America, an operational arm of Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU).

Additionally, the company entered the D.C. multifamily market through the buyout of Crystal House. The property was acquired through a JV with a fund advised by UBS Global Asset Management of UBS AG (UBS). We believe that such restructuring efforts will ultimately help the company to diversify its assets and ride high on growth.

Mack-Cali currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). However, another REIT that is performing better and deserves a look is Winthrop Realty Trust (FUR) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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