President and CEO of Highwoods Properties Ed Fritsch Reveals His Real Estate Investing Process

August 23, 2017

Ed Fritsch serves as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Highwoods Properties, Inc., a $7 billion-plus, publicly traded real estate investment trust. He joined the company in 1982 a year after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Mr. Fritsch held many titles before becoming CEO in 2004, including positions such as Head of Asset Management, Director of Development, Division President and Chief Operating Officer.

The real estate portfolio is concentrated in the Southeastern US:  “We are enamored with the Southeast for a number of reasons. Its population growth should certainly continue to outpace the national average. The demographics with regard to job growth and employment growth for the office sector continues to be good. Cost of living is systemically below the national average, quality of life is proven to be high, the educational institutions littered throughout the Southeast are a very positive characteristic, and all but one of our states is a right-to-work state, which we think is an attractive aspect for businesses that want to grow and/or relocate. So we put that mosaic of attributes together and it makes for a pretty good place to do what we do.”

The REIT increased its regional emphasis by exiting from a long held portfolio position in Kansas City, Missouri.  “In September of 2015, we announced three office towers that we were buying, two in Buckhead, Atlanta, and one in downtown Tampa, and that subsequently we would sell Country Club Plaza and use some of those proceeds in a reverse 1031 to cover our investment in the three towers. And so that’s why it looks like an unusual amount of dispositions in 2016, as we sold Country Club Plaza for $660 million.”

Read the entire investment thesis and management philosophy of Mr. Fritsch in his exclusive interview with the Wall Street Transcript.