By Gail Kalinoski, Contributing Editor
Focusing on providing funding sources for development and redevelopment projects, Lightstone has launched Lightstone Real Estate Income Trust, Inc., a $300 million development finance REIT.
The New York City-based real estate company said the proceeds of the offering would be used to originate, acquire and manage a diverse portfolio of real estate-related investments that finance development and redevelopment projects.
“Coming out of the economic downturn that began around 2007, the development sector of the real estate industry has been steadily growing with continuous opportunity in new construction projects,” David Lichtenstein, chairman & CEO of Lightstone, said in a prepared statement. “This growing demand allows us to provide loans to developers at a very attractive return-to-investment.”
The company’s statement noted demand for development and/or redevelopment projects has increased, but funding sources haven’t kept pace and traditional lenders have cut back on development financing.
“This presents an opportunity for investment vehicles such as Lightstone Real Estate Income Trust, Inc.,” the company said about the new public, non-traded REIT.
It is Lightstone’s fourth public, non-traded REIT since 2005. The other three REITs are Lightstone Value Plus REIT, Inc. and Lightstone Value Plus REIT II, Inc., both of which are closed to new investors, and Lightstone Value Plus REIT III, Inc.
Earlier this month, Lightstone announced Steven Spinola, President Emeritus of the Real Estate Board of New York, as an independent director on the Board of Directors of Lightstone Real Estate Income Trust Inc. Spinola retired in June after serving as REBNY president for nearly 30 years, the longest-serving president in the organization’s history and oversaw its growth from 4,000 members in 1986 to more than 16,000 today.
“His integrity coupled with his vast experience in New York City real estate, provides us a tremendous resource offering keen real estate industry experience,” Lichtenstein said in a prepared statement about Spinola’s appointment.
Lightstone is one of the nation’s largest privately-held real estate companies with holdings in 21 states. The company’s $2 billion portfolio includes over 6 million square feet of office, retail and industrial commercial properties; 11,000 residential units and 3,200 hotel keys. It also owns over 12,000 land lots across the United States and has about $1.7 billion worth of projects under development in the residential and hospitality sectors. Many of its development and redevelopment projects have been in New York City, such as 1407 Broadway, a 42-story, 1.1 million-square-foot office building it sold to Shorenstein Properties L.L.C. for $330 million in May. Lightstone had acquired the former Garment Center building in 2007 for $122 million and spent more than $20 million to modernize and reposition it.