The locally based REIT, which owns approximately $7.7 billion of gross assets, begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

PHOENIX-Locally based Cole Real Estate Investments Inc. has officially begun trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The firm, formerly known as Cole Credit Property Trust III Inc., commenced a modified “Dutch auction” tender offer to purchase for cash up to $250 million in value of its shares of common stock.

“Listing on the NYSE is a significant milestone for our firm, and I look forward to continuing to work with our talented team to capitalize on the significant opportunities this presents,” says Chris Cole, founder and executive chairman of Cole Real Estate Investments. “As a market-leading net-lease REIT, our high-quality portfolio and fully integrated real estate platform position us to be successful in today’s market. I am proud of the accomplishments that have led us to this most historic day in Cole’s 34-year history.”

Under the terms of the tender offer, the company intends to select the lowest price, not greater than $13.00 nor less than $12.25 per share, net to the tendering stockholder in cash, less any applicable withholding taxes and without interest, which would enable the company to purchase the maximum number of shares having an aggregate purchase price not exceeding $250 million.

According to a prepared statement, stockholders may tender all or a portion of their shares of common stock. Stockholders also may choose not to tender any of their shares of common stock.

The statement says that “If the tender offer is oversubscribed, shares will be accepted on a prorated basis, subject to “odd lot” priority. The company intends to fund the purchase price for shares of common stock accepted for payment pursuant to the tender offer, and all related fees and expenses, from available cash and/or borrowings under the existing senior unsecured credit facility.”

The Phoenix-based firm is a REIT that has acquired and managed real estate assets leased long-term to a high-quality, diversified tenant base since 1979. As of March 31, 2013, Cole Real Estate Investments owned $7.7 billion of gross assets, which included 1,013 properties representing approximately 43 million square feet of commercial real estate in 48 states.

Through its private capital business, Cole Capital, Cole manages 1,031 additional properties with an aggregate purchase price of approximately $5.3 billion.

Marc Nemer, chief executive officer of Cole Real Estate Investments, says in a statement that “It is an honor to be a NYSE-traded company, continuing our mission of being the premier, trusted brand in real estate. Stockholders will benefit from our proven investment strategy that has built one of the largest REITs focused on the net-lease sector. We are confident today’s listing provides the opportunity to build on that market leadership.”

With Cole’s listing, investors can own an interest in Cole’s high-quality commercial real estate portfolio featuring a 12.4 year weighted average lease term, 99% portfolio occupancy and 55% investment grade tenancy. The $7.7 billion of gross assets is well diversified by industry, tenancy and geography. Industry-leading tenants in the net lease portfolio include Walgreens, CVS/pharmacy, Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, Costco, Home Depot, FedEx, PetSmart, AT&T, Kohl’s and Merrill Lynch. In addition to being one the largest REITs in the net lease sector, Cole’s private capital business, Cole Capital, provides additional income as a result of management fees earned from sponsored real estate vehicles.

GlobeSt.com will update this story as more information becomes available.