Columbia Property Trust boosted its financial performance in the third quarter by collecting almost all rents from its office tenants.
On an earnings call Thursday, the real estate investment trust reported that its normalized funds for operation during the third quarter of 2020 was 42 cents per share, up from 39 cents per share a year earlier. The result was even better than the second quarter, when the figure — 40 cents per share — was reportedly the highest since 2018. Its lease rate is above 96 percent, according to president and CEO Nelson Mills, who noted that the firm also collected nearly 98 percent of its rent.
Columbia operates 7.1 million rentable square feet, mostly in New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Its major tenants include Twitter, which leases more than 200,000 square feet at 245-249 West 17th Street in Manhattan.
Mills didn’t specify how many workers have returned to the landlord’s offices. The future of office real estate remains uncertain with so many people still working from home. According to a recent survey by Partnership for New York City, only 10 percent of workers had returned to Manhattan offices as of late October.
Still, Columbia is moving ahead with new development projects, including 799 Broadway, a 12-story, 182,000-square-foot boutique office building in Greenwich Village. That building topped out over the summer, and CIO Jeff Gronning said it would likely come online by summer 2021.
The $300 million project was initially developed by a joint venture between Columbia and Normandy Real Estate Partners. Columbia later acquired Normand in a $100 million deal.
The company also expects to release 115,000 square feet at 149 Madison Avenue, which was returned by WeWork.